North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

What is Inner Line Permit System (ILPS)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Inner Line Permit System

Mains level : Issues with ILP system

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court opposing the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in Manipur.

What is Inner Line Permit?

  • A concept drawn by colonial rulers, the Inner Line separated the tribal-populated hill areas in the Northeast from the plains.
  • The concept originates from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act (BEFR), 1873.
  • To enter and stay for any period in these areas, Indian citizens from other areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP).
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are protected by the Inner Line, and lately, Manipur was added (in December last year).

Its’ Inception

  • The policy of exclusion first came about as a response to the reckless expansion of British entrepreneurs into new lands which threatened British political relations with the hill tribes.
  • The BEFR prohibits an outsider’s — “British subject or foreign citizen” — entry into the are beyond the Inner Line without a pass and his purchase of land there.
  • On the other hand, the Inner Line also protects the commercial interests of the British from the tribal communities.
  • After Independence, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India”.
  • Today, the main aim of the ILP system is to prevent settlement of other Indian nationals in the States where the ILP regime is prevalent, in order to protect the indigenous/tribal population.

Why need ILP?

  • Despite the fact that the ILP was originally created by the British to safeguard their commercial interests, it continues to be used in India.
  • It aims to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India.
  • There are different kinds of ILP’s, one for tourists and others for people who intend to stay for long-term periods, often for employment purposes.
  • ILP’s valid for tourism purposes are granted as a matter of routine.

Issues with ILP

  • It has been extensively used to restrict the entry of tribals.

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