Centre decides to strengthen NE autonomous councils

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Assam is on the boil since the much debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier this month. Now aiming to lure the tribal population residing in Assam and other Northeast, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in Centre decided to grant more power and funds to 10 autonomous councils in the region.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved ‘landmark’ constitutional amendments and increased the powers of the autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the Northeast.

According to an official statement, the Finance Commission will be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the autonomous councils. The ‘landmark’ constitutional amendment also made transfer of additional 30 subjects including departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.

“The cabinet approves landmark amendment to Article 280 and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The most important part of these amendments is that these will significantly improve the financial resources and powers of the autonomous districts councils in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, fulfilling longstanding aspirations of the tribal population in these Northeastern states,” the statement read.

At least one-third of the seats will be reserved for women in the councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura and at least two of the nominated members in all autonomous councils in the North East Sixth Schedule areas resulting in empowerment of women.

The amendments also suggested to rename the existing autonomous councils as Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC), Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council (DHATC), Garo Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (GHATC), Khasi Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (KHATC), Jaintia Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (JHATC) and Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous Territorial Council (TTAATC) as the present jurisdiction of these councils extend to more than one districts.

Also there will be increase in seats in KAATC from 30 to 50 seats, in DHATC from 30 to 40 seats, in GHATC from 30 to 42, in KHATC from 30 to 40 and in JHATC from 30 to 34.

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