J&K – The issues around the state

Ladakh and the Sixth Schedule


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ladakh, Sixth Schedule

Mains level: Read the attached story


A Ladakhi innovator and engineer completed his five-day “climate fast”, in an effort to draw the attention of leaders to the region’s fragile ecology and to secure its protection under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Fast for Ladakh’s Fragile Ecology

  • The fast highlights that Ladakh’s ecology is highly sensitive to climate change, with melting glaciers posing significant risks to the region’s flora, fauna, and people.
  • As a cold desert, Ladakh relies on glaciers to fulfil water needs.
  • However, melting glaciers cause the loss of potable water, threaten agriculture practices, erode sustainable practices, and force locals to migrate.

About Ladakh

  • Ladakh is a region in the northernmost part of India, bordering China and Pakistan.
  • The region is home to several ethnic groups, including the Ladakhi people, who are predominantly Buddhist.

Demand for Sixth Schedule in Ladakh

  • There has been a demand from the local tribal communities in Ladakh to extend the provisions of the Sixth Schedule to the region.
  • The demand has been primarily driven by concerns over the protection of tribal rights and the preservation of the unique cultural identity of the local communities.

Current administration in Ladakh

  • Ladakh was granted Union Territory status in 2019, following the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union Territories.
  • The administration of Ladakh is currently governed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh and an elected Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC).

Benefits of Sixth Schedule in Ladakh

  • Meeting tribal aspiration: The Parliamentary standing committee recommended including of Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule because its tribal communities account for 79.61% of its total population.
  • Autonomy and self-governance: The extension of the Sixth Schedule to Ladakh could provide greater autonomy and self-governance to the local tribal communities.
  • Cultural preservation: It could also help to protect the unique cultural identity of the local communities and preserve their traditional practices and customs.

Challenges to this demand

  • No further fragmentation: The demand to extend the Sixth Schedule to Ladakh has faced some opposition from certain quarters, who argue that it could lead to further fragmentation of the region and create new administrative challenges.
  • Losing political capital: There are also concerns over the potential impact of the demand on the political and administrative structure of the region.


  • Overall, the demand to extend the provisions of the Sixth Schedule to Ladakh is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of the needs and aspirations of the local tribal communities, as well as the broader political and administrative context of the region.

Back2Basics: Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in the northeastern states of India.
  • These provisions were added to the Constitution in order to protect the rights and interests of the tribal communities in these areas and to promote their social, cultural, and economic development.

Here’s a summary of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:

Areas covered

  • The Sixth Schedule covers the tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • These areas are known as “tribal areas” and are home to a large number of indigenous tribal communities.

Autonomous district councils

  • The Sixth Schedule provides for the establishment of autonomous district councils in the tribal areas.
  • These councils have the power to make laws and regulations for the governance of their respective areas.
  • They are also responsible for the administration of the local institutions of self-government, such as village councils and traditional councils.

Composition of district councils

  • The members of the district councils are elected by the people of the respective districts.
  • The councils are headed by a chairman, who is also elected by the members of the council.
  • The district councils have the power to appoint their own staff and to manage their own finances.

Powers of district councils

  • The district councils have the power to make laws on a range of subjects, including land, forests, water, and fisheries.
  • They also have the power to regulate local markets and to levy taxes and fees on a range of activities.
  • The district councils can also establish and manage schools, hospitals, and other institutions for the benefit of the local communities.

Protection of tribal rights

  • The Sixth Schedule provides for the protection of the rights of the tribal communities in the areas covered by the schedule.
  • It ensures that the traditional rights and customs of the tribal communities are respected and protected.
  • It also provides for the reservation of seats in the district councils and other local bodies for members of the tribal communities.


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