From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Autonomous districts, Sixth Schedule
Mains level : Sixth Schedule of Indian constitution
The Rengma Nagas in Assam have written to Union Home Minister demanding an autonomous district council amid a decision by the Central and the State governments to upgrade the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) into a territorial council.
Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council
- KAAC is an autonomous district council in the state of Assam, India for the development and protection of tribals living in area namely Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong district.
- The council is constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India and administratively functions under the Government of Assam.
Answer this PYQ in the comment box:
Q.The Government enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act in 1996. Which one of the following is not identified as its objective?
(a) To provide self-governance
(b) To recognize traditional rights
(c) To create autonomous regions in tribal areas
(d) To free tribal people from exploitation
What are such Autonomous Council?
- The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India allows for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions which have been given autonomy within their respective states.
- Most of these autonomous district councils are located in North East India but two are in Ladakh, a region administered by India as a union territory.
- Presently, 10 Autonomous Councils in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura are formed by virtue of the Sixth Schedule with the rest being formed as a result of other legislation.
Powers and competencies
Under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule, autonomous district councils can make laws, rules and regulations in the following areas:
- Land management
- Forest management
- Water resources
- Agriculture and cultivation
- Formation of village councils
- Public health
- Village and town level policing
- Appointment of traditional chiefs and headmen
- Inheritance of property
- Marriage and divorce
- Social customs
- Money lending and trading
- Mining and minerals
- Autonomous district councils have powers to form courts to hear cases where both parties are members of Scheduled Tribes and the maximum sentence is less than 5 years in prison.
Taxation and revenue
- Autonomous district councils have powers to levy taxes, fees and tolls on; building and land, animals, vehicles, boats, entry of goods into the area, roads, ferries, bridges, employment and income and general taxes for the maintenance of schools and roads.