North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Manipur accounted for 97% of displacements in South Asia   

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Migration Pattern;

Mains level: Internal security issues; Changing Migration Pattern in India;

Why in the News?

The report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) termed it the highest number of displacements in India triggered due to the conflict and violence in India since 2018.

Key highlights on Internal Displacement in India (2009-2023):

  • The above image shows the Internally Displaced People (IDP) currently living in India.
    • This term focuses on the individuals who have been displaced till the end of every year. At the end of 2023, there were 0.61 million such persons in India.
  • Globally, India was among the top five countries with the highest number of new internal displacements in 2022 due to disasters, with 2.5 million displacements.
  • Causes:
    • Natural: In 2023, India experienced over half a million internal displacements due to floods, storms, earthquakes, and other disasters.
    • Artificial: Over the past five years (2009-2023), the number of internally displaced people resulting from regional conflict and land disputes has increased by 22.6 million, with the two biggest increases in 2022 and 2023.
    • Over 1/3rd of the displacements took place within Manipur, with almost a fifth moving to the neighboring state of Mizoram and smaller numbers to Nagaland and Assam.

Regional Scenario (2009-2023):

  • In 2023, conflict and violence triggered 69,000 displacements in South Asia, with Manipur violence alone accounting for 67,000, the highest number since 2018.
  • The violence erupted after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in Manipur’s hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
  • This led to ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities even in bordering areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Global Scenario (2009-2023):

  • The number of IDPs has grown by 50% in the last five years. The report said that 68.3 million people worldwide were displaced by conflict and violence as of 2023.
  • By the end of 2022, at least 8.7 million people in 88 countries and territories were internally displaced by disasters, with India being one of them.
  • Conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Palestine accounted for nearly two-thirds of new conflict movements in 2023
  • 3.4 million new movements in the Gaza Strip in the last quarter of 2023, leaving 1.7 million internally displaced by the end of the year.

Way Forward: 

  • Dialogue and Mediation: Facilitate dialogue between conflicting communities, such as the Meitei and Kuki, to address underlying issues like land disputes.
  • Legal Framework: Strengthen legal frameworks to protect minority rights and address grievances that may lead to violence.
  • Peacebuilding Initiatives: Implement peacebuilding programs that promote social cohesion and understanding among different ethnic and community groups.

Mains PYQ:

Q How far are India’s internal security challenges linked with border management particularly in view of the long porous borders with most countries of South Asia and Myanmar? (UPSC IAS/2013)

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Cabinet approves UNNATI Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNNATI Scheme

Mains level: NER Development

unnati

In the news

  • The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Uttar Poorva Transformative Industrialization (UNNATI) Scheme, 2024.

What is the UNNATI Scheme?

  • The UNNATI is a significant initiative aimed at fostering industrial development and generating employment opportunities in the North East Region of India.
  • With a focus on promoting manufacturing and services sectors, the scheme aims to stimulate economic growth and uplift the socio-economic landscape of the region.

Objectives

  • Employment Generation: UNNATI aims to create productive economic activities that generate gainful employment opportunities, thereby contributing to the overall socio-economic development of the North East Region.
  • Industrial Development: The scheme seeks to encourage the establishment of industries and the expansion of existing ones, fostering growth and development across various sectors.

Expenditure Allocation

  • UNNATI will operate as a Central Sector Scheme, with funds allocated for both incentives to eligible units (Part A) and implementation and institutional arrangements (Part B).
  • Part A of the scheme will receive Rs. 9,737 crores, while Rs. 300 crores will be allocated for Part B.

Salient Features

  • Scheme Period: Effective from the date of Notification until March 31, 2034, along with 8 years of committed liabilities.
  • Commencement of Production: Eligible industrial units must commence production or operation within 4 years from the grant of registration.
  • Categorization of Districts: Districts are categorized into Zone A (Industrially Advanced Districts) and Zone B (Industrially Backward Districts) to ensure targeted development.
  • Funds Allocation: 60% of Part A outlay is earmarked for the 8 North Eastern states, while the remaining 40% follows a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) basis.
  • Eligibility: New and expanding industrial units are eligible for incentives under the scheme.

Implementation and Oversight

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will oversee the implementation of UNNATI.
  • National and state-level committees, including the Steering Committee and State Level Committee, will monitor implementation, ensure transparency, and facilitate the registration and claims process for incentives.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Resolving Indigenous Issues: Tripartite Agreement in Tripura

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Sub-nationalism, Statehood issues among Tribals

In the news

  • A Tripartite agreement was signed between the Government of India, the government of Tripura, and the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA).
  • This marks a significant step towards addressing the longstanding issues faced by the indigenous population of Tripura.

Ethno-Political Demands in Tripura: Historical Context

  • Demographic Shifts: Tripura has witnessed significant demographic changes, with indigenous tribes facing marginalization due to influxes of refugees from East Pakistan.
  • Marginalization of the Locals: This demographic shift has eroded the indigenous population’s socio-political influence and land rights over time.
  • Ethnic Tensions: Ethnic conflicts and insurgency have further exacerbated tensions between indigenous tribes and non-tribal communities, leading to demands for greater autonomy and recognition of tribal rights.
  • Revival of Ethnic Nationalism: In recent years, ethnic nationalism has been resurgent, particularly through the demand of Greater Tipraland, which seeks to unite indigenous tribes under a common identity and advocate for their collective interests.

Demand for Greater Tipraland

  • Enhanced Autonomy: The core objective of Greater Tipraland is to secure greater autonomy for indigenous tribes within Tripura, allowing them to govern their affairs and preserve their cultural heritage.
  • Recognition of Tribal Rights: TIPRA’s demands include linguistic recognition, economic empowerment, and political representation for indigenous communities, ensuring their rights are safeguarded and respected.
  • Geographical Extent: The proposed Greater Tipraland encompasses not only the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) but also extends to tribal populations residing outside designated tribal areas, including those in neighboring states and Bangladesh.

Constitutional Framework for Such Demands

  • Constitutional Provisions: Articles 2 and 3 of the Indian Constitution provide the legal framework for the creation of new states and the alteration of state boundaries. TIPRA seeks to leverage these provisions to advocate for the establishment of Greater Tipraland.
  • Regional Representation: Through political advocacy and grassroots mobilization, TIPRA aims to garner support for its demands within the legislative and executive branches of government, both at the state and national levels.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: While constitutional avenues exist for pursuing Greater Tipraland, navigating political complexities and addressing competing interests pose significant challenges. However, TIPRA sees these challenges as opportunities to engage in dialogue and build consensus around its agenda.

Socio-Political Dynamics

  • Coalition Building: TIPRA’s emergence as a major political force has reshaped Tripura’s political landscape, with alliances and partnerships forming to advance shared objectives, including the pursuit of Greater Tipraland.
  • Opposition Criticism: Opposition parties, such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist), have criticized TIPRA’s demands as politically motivated, highlighting broader ideological divisions and electoral dynamics.
  • Public Support: TIPRA’s demands have garnered widespread public support, particularly among indigenous communities, who see Greater Tipraland as a pathway to empowerment and self-determination.

Conclusion

  • The demand for Greater Tipraland encapsulates the aspirations of Tripura’s indigenous tribes for self-governance, cultural preservation, and socio-economic empowerment.
  • While challenges remain, the pursuit reflects a broader movement towards inclusive governance and recognition of indigenous rights in India’s northeastern region.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

A dark message to Delhi from Kangla Fort

A dark message to Delhi from Kangla Fort - The Hindu

Central Idea:

The article discusses a significant event in Manipur where Meitei legislators, through a public oath at Kangla Fort, endorsed a six-point agenda with communal overtones, targeting the ‘Kuki’ community. This act, influenced by an armed militia called Arambai Tenggol, reflects a departure from constitutional duties and raises concerns about the legitimacy of elected representatives in a democratic state. The piece warns against the dangers of a radical agenda and highlights the potential parallels with historical incidents like the Bhindranwale episode in Punjab.

Key Highlights:

  • Meitei legislators endorse a six-point agenda with communal overtones, targeting the ‘Kuki.’
  • The oath-taking event at Kangla Fort is orchestrated by the armed militia, Arambai Tenggol.
  • The agenda includes abrogating agreements, implementing NRC with 1951 as the base year, constructing a border fence, replacing Assam Rifles, removing ‘Kuki’ from Scheduled Tribe list, and relocating ‘Kuki refugees.’
  • The omission of ‘disarmament’ from the agenda raises concerns about the armed militia’s influence.

Key Challenges:

  • The event reflects a departure from constitutional duties by elected representatives.
  • The influence of an armed militia on democratic processes raises questions about the legitimacy of the Indian state.
  • The communal overtones in the agenda may deepen the emotional, demographic, and territorial divide.

Key Terms/Phrases:

  • Shumang Leela: Traditional form of theatre in Manipur.
  • Kangla Fort: The symbolic and traditional seat of power in Manipur.
  • Arambai Tenggol: An armed militia influencing Meitei legislators and pushing a radical agenda.
  • Bhindranwale Moment: Reference to the radicalization and armed conflict in Punjab during the 1980s.

Key Quotes:

  • “Legislators lost Tagore’s dream of ‘clear stream of reason’ and a fearless mind.”
  • “Elected representatives…pliable and can be blackmailed under duress.”
  • “Armed militia chose Kangla Fort to revive Meitei indigenous tradition, culture, and religion.”

Key Examples/References:

  • The six-point agenda and its potential impact on the vulnerable Kuki-Zomi-Hmar groups.
  • The involvement of Arambais in violent attacks against Kuki-Zomi-Hmar villages.
  • The parallels drawn with the radicalization of youth in Punjab under Bhindranwale.

Key Facts/Data:

  • The Arambai Tenggol retains control over a significant amount of arms and ammunition.
  • The communal agenda may lead to increased tensions between communities.
  • The armed militia’s influence raises concerns about the democratic process in Manipur.

Critical Analysis:

  • The legislators’ omission of ‘disarmament’ suggests a compromise with the armed militia’s agenda.
  • The article warns against the potential consequences of allowing an armed militia to influence state decisions.
  • The communal overtones in the agenda are criticized for undermining democratic and constitutional principles.

Way Forward:

  • Emphasize the need for elected representatives to uphold constitutional duties.
  • Advocate for dialogue and peaceful resolution to address the concerns of different communities.
  • Strengthen mechanisms to prevent the influence of armed militias on democratic processes.

In conclusion, the article highlights the concerning events in Manipur, where elected representatives endorse a communal agenda influenced by an armed militia. It urges a recommitment to constitutional duties, warns against radicalization, and suggests a path forward through dialogue and democratic principles.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

How the Northeast was ‘invented’, 52 years ago?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Not Much

Northeast India

Central Idea

  • On December 30, 1971, two pivotal laws were enacted, reshaping the administrative landscape of Northeast India.
  • These laws marked a transition from the traditional unit of Assam to the broader concept of ‘Northeast India’.

Formation and Composition of Northeast India

  • States in the Northeast: The region officially includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura, under the North-Eastern Council.
  • Pre-Independence Structure: Before Independence, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Mizoram were part of colonial Assam. Manipur and Tripura were princely states with British political officers, while Sikkim, under British paramountcy, became an independent country in 1947 and was annexed by India in 1975. Sikkim joined the North-Eastern Council in 2001.

Colonial Context and Frontier Province Dynamics

  • Assam as a Frontier Province: Colonial Assam was a frontier province in British India, akin to the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan).
  • Administrative Divisions: The province was divided into ‘settled districts’ (like present-day Assam and Sylhet in Bangladesh) and ‘excluded areas’ or ‘Hill areas’ (like modern-day Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Nagaland).

Post-Independence Security and Administrative Shifts

  • Unique Post-1947 Challenges: After 1947, the region’s borders became largely international, with a narrow land corridor connecting it to the rest of India.
  • Creation of Nagaland: The state of Nagaland was created in 1963, following the Sino-Indian War of 1962, as part of efforts to integrate the Naga people into the Indian state.

North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act of 1971

  • Statehood and Union Territories: Manipur and Tripura were elevated to statehood, Meghalaya was formed from Assam, and Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were established as union territories, later becoming states in 1987.
  • Strategic Reorganization: This Act represented a strategic shift from the colonial frontier governance to a modern state structure.

Concept and Implications of ‘Northeast India’

  • Directional Naming and Identity: The term ‘Northeast India’ highlights the region’s distinct identity and its hierarchical relation to the Indian heartland.
  • Racial and Cultural Dimensions: The term ‘Northeasterner’ has often led to racial stereotyping and issues of identity and recognition.

Conclusion

  • Complex Administrative Evolution: The formation of Northeast India is a testament to the region’s complex history and the Indian state’s response to unique geopolitical challenges.
  • Continued Struggle for Recognition: Despite legislative milestones, Northeast India continues to face challenges in national integration, identity politics, and equitable development.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Lapses in the implementation of PM-DevINE Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: PM-DevINE Scheme

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Only about 10% of the funds under the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) have been sanctioned.

About PM-DevINE Scheme

Details
Genesis of PM-DevINE – Introduced in Union Budget 2022-23

– Approved by the Cabinet on 12th October 2022

Funding 100% Central funding
Implementing Ministry Ministry of Development of North-East Region
Objectives – Infrastructure Development in line with PM GatiShakti

– Supporting Social Development Projects

– Empowering Youth and Women in the NER

Project Implementation State-wise, project-wise list of projects approved for FY 2022-23, tailored to specific state needs

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Private: Story of ULFA and the Historic Tripartite Agreement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ULFA

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Assam government and the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) signed a memorandum of settlement.
  • This “tripartite settlement is significant for Assam’s peace” and the government is said to have achieved success in eliminating all the violent groups in the State.

ULFA and Assam’s Struggle

  • Formation of ULFA: The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was established in 1979 by radical thinkers amidst growing concerns over the identity and resources of the indigenous Assamese population.
  • Cultural and Economic Shifts: The influx of migrants due to the booming tea, coal, and oil economy, compounded by the Partition and refugee influx, heightened insecurities among the native Assamese.
  • Assam Accord of 1985: Aimed at resolving the issue of foreigners in Assam, the Accord was a response to a prolonged mass movement but failed to address all concerns, leading to the formation of ULFA.

Four Decades of Violence and State Response

  • ULFA’s Armed Struggle: The group sought a sovereign Assamese nation through armed conflict, resulting in kidnappings, extortion, and loss of life.
  • Operation Bajrang and AFSPA: In response, the Indian government launched Operation Bajrang in 1990, imposing President’s rule and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Assam.
  • Internal Divisions and State Allegations: ULFA faced internal divisions, with one faction (SULFA) surrendering and allegedly conducting state-backed ‘secret killings’ of other ULFA members.

ULFA’s External Support and Links

  • Camps in Neighboring Countries: ULFA maintained camps in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, using them for training, shelter, and launching cross-border operations.
  • Connections with Global Terror Groups: The outfit established links with Islamic terror groups and Pakistan’s ISI, with its military chief reportedly meeting Osama Bin Laden.

Efforts Towards Peace

  • Initial Peace Talks: In 2005, ULFA formed a ‘People’s Consultative Group’ for peace talks, but discussions broke down, leading to renewed violence.
  • Renewed Peace Initiatives: Post-2008, some ULFA commanders, including Arabinda Rajkhowa, sought peace talks, leading to a major split in the organization.
  • Pro-Talks Faction’s Demands: The pro-talks faction submitted a 12-point charter of demands in 2012, leading to recent discussions and the historic tripartite peace agreement.

Tripartite Peace Agreement

  • Significance of the Deal: The agreement between the pro-talks ULFA faction, the Government of India, and the Assam state government marks a significant step towards peace.
  • Expert Opinions: Journalists and experts like Rajeev Bhattacharya view the deal as a positive development but acknowledge uncertainties regarding its completeness and effectiveness.
  • Government’s Optimism: Union Home Minister expressed confidence in the agreement as a new era of peace, while Assam CM showed interest in engaging with the anti-talks faction.

Conclusion

  • Hope for Lasting Peace: The peace deal with the pro-talks ULFA faction opens a new chapter in Assam’s history, potentially paving the way for lasting peace and development.
  • Challenges Ahead: The success of the agreement and the engagement with the remaining factions of ULFA, particularly those demanding sovereignty, will determine the future stability and prosperity of Assam.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

UNLF Peace Accord: Why one pact is not peace

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNLF peace accord

Mains level: Successful peace deals in Northeastern states

Central idea 

In a volatile state like Manipur, peace agreements can be challenging to implement because of the multiplicity of stakeholders and their divergent interests and grievances

Key Highlights:

  • Welcoming a Milestone Accord: Recent peace accord between UNLF in Manipur and the government of India viewed positively for its potential impact on regional normalcy.
  • Regional Peace Trends: Successful peace deals in Northeastern states like Mizoram, Tripura, and Shillong, along with significant progress in Assam through accords with separatist groups.

Key Challenges:

  • Lurking Threat of Looted Arms: The presence of approximately 4,500 looted arms in various hands poses a substantial threat to the journey towards lasting peace.
  • Complexities in UNLF Accord: Lack of clarity on the terms of the UNLF peace accord and potential complications arising from the involvement of militants in ethnic conflicts.
  • Diverse Demands and Historical Grievances: Reconciling diverse demands and historical grievances from various ethnic and tribal communities in Manipur emerges as a complex challenge.

Key Terms/Phrases:

  • Peace Dynamics: Peace accord, insurgency, Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement.
  • Challenges in Reconciliation: Multiplicity of stakeholders, ethnic conflicts, geopolitical factors.
  • Key Players: Separatist groups, militant factions, political negotiations.

Key Quotes/Statements:

  • “Any peace initiative is welcome — more so if it deals with a militant group abjuring arms to join the mainstream.”
  • “The biggest hurdle in the road to peace remains the floating looted arms numbering around 4,500 in various hands.”
  • “Diverse demands from various ethnic and/or tribal communities… making it hard to arrive at a resolution that satisfies all parties.”

Key Examples/References:

  • Positive Precedents: Peace accords in Mizoram, Tripura, Shillong, and Assam leading to regional normalization.
  • NSCN-IM Accord: The signing of an accord by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland — Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) in 2015.
  • Militant Factions in UNLF: Presence of factions like the Pambei faction advocating for dialogue.

Key Facts/Data:

  • Ban Extension: The ban extension on nine Meiti extremist groups, including UNLF and Manipur People’s Army (MPA).
  • Surrender Statistics: Tripartite accords initiated by the Centre since 2014 leading to 6,112 insurgents surrendering.
  • Arms Challenge: Presence of 4,500 looted arms posing a significant challenge to peace efforts.

Critical Analysis:

  • Distrust and External Influences: Challenges in implementing peace agreements due to historical distrust, external influences, and divergent interests.
  • Fragility of Agreements: The fragility of peace agreements highlighted by disruptions caused by extremist factions or splinter groups.
  • State’s Volatility: Manipur’s volatile state demands comprehensive efforts for lasting peace.

Way Forward:

  • Addressing Arm Threat: Focus on resolving the issue of looted arms to ensure a major cause of concern is adequately addressed.
  • Transparent Communication: Clearly communicate the terms of the UNLF peace accord to manage expectations and foster understanding.
  • Holistic Approach: Focus on political negotiations, rehabilitation of displaced individuals, and dismantling militant-controlled zones.
  • Inclusive Engagement: Engage all political parties, appoint a political negotiator, and seek a comprehensive agreement that satisfies various stakeholders.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Centre and Manipur signs Peace Agreement with UNLF

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNLF, Meitei Tribe

Mains level: Read the attached story

UNLF

Central Idea

  • The Union and Manipur governments have signed a peace agreement with the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), a banned Meitei extremist organisation.
  • UNLF is the oldest armed group based in the Manipur valley, marking this agreement as a notable event in the region’s history.

Understanding the UNLF

  • Formation: Established on November 24, 1964, under Arembam Samarendra Singh‘s leadership, the UNLF is the oldest valley-based insurgent group in Manipur.
  • Diverse Leadership: Initially led by a mix of ethnicities, including Naga and Kuki leaders.
  • Armed Wing and Activities: The Manipur People’s Army, formed in 1990, and has been responsible for multiple attacks against Indian security forces.
  • Current Status: The UNLF, now split into two factions, is estimated to have 400-500 cadres, operating primarily in the valley areas of Manipur and some Kuki-Zomi hill districts.
  • Base of Operations: Largely operating from Myanmar, the group has faced setbacks due to conflicts with the Myanmar military and other Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs).

Precedent for the Peace Agreement

  • Historical Context: This is a significant development as Meitei Extremist Organisations (VBIGs) have traditionally not engaged in peace talks with the Centre.
  • Previous Instances: Smaller groups like UPPK, KCP, and Maoist Communist Group have disbanded or diminished in influence, but the terms of their agreements are unclear.
  • UNLF’s Internal Dynamics: The group underwent splits in the mid-1990s and 2021, leading to the formation of factions under different leaders. The faction led by Khundongbam Pambei has been open to negotiations since 2020.

Status of Other Insurgent Groups

  • Broader Insurgency Landscape: The UNLF is one of several Meitei insurgent groups and is among the seven banned by the Union government.
  • Opposition to Talks: The UNLF faction under NC Koireng remains opposed to peace talks.
  • Agreements with Other Groups: A Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement was reached in 2008 with Kuki-Zomi insurgent groups, but the Manipur government withdrew from agreements with some groups in 2022.

Conclusion

  • The peace agreement with the UNLF marks a critical step in addressing the long-standing insurgency in Manipur.
  • It reflects a shift in the approach of Meitei insurgent groups towards dialogue and potential reconciliation.
  • The success of this agreement could pave the way for further peace initiatives in the region, contributing to stability and development in Manipur.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Special Provisions of NE States under Article 371

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 371

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • The Supreme Court recently assured that special constitutional provisions protecting the interests of northeastern states under Article 371 will remain untouched.
  • As the Constitution Bench deliberates the challenge to Article 370’s abrogation in Jammu and Kashmir, we delve into the significance of these assurances and their implications.

What is Article 371?

  • Article 371 of the Indian Constitution grants special provisions to various states to protect their unique cultural and tribal identities.
  • These provisions are aimed at preserving local customs, social practices, and land ownership.

Preserving Tribal Culture

  • Context: Article 371 provides special provisions for several states, particularly in the northeast, to safeguard their tribal cultures and unique identities.
  • Article 371(A) – Nagaland: Article 371(A) ensures that acts of Parliament do not apply to Nagaland concerning Nagas’ religious and social practices, customary law, civil and criminal justice based on Naga customary law, and land and resource ownership.
  • State Assembly’s Role: These provisions only apply to Nagaland after the State Assembly passes a resolution to that effect.
  • Development Impediment: Some stakeholders, like Neikiesalie Nicky Kire of the NDPP, argue that Article 371(A) hampers development by preventing the government from carrying out development activities due to landowner preferences.

Similar Provisions in Other States

  • Article 371-G – Mizoram: Similar to Nagaland, Article 371-G provides special provisions for Mizoram to protect Mizo religious and social practices, customary law, civil and criminal justice, and land ownership.
  • Article 371B – Assam: Article 371B facilitates the creation of the sub-state ‘Meghalaya,’ aiming to provide special provisions with respect to Assam.

State-Specific Provisions

  • Article 371C – Manipur: This article addresses special provisions for Manipur, a state that was formed in 1972.
  • Article 371F and 371H – Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh: These articles discuss special provisions for Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively, to address their unique needs.
  • Article 371 – Separate Development Boards: Article 371 empowers the President to establish separate development boards for specific regions within Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, promoting balanced growth.

Further State-Specific Provisions except NE

  • Articles 371D and 371E – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa: These articles provide special provisions for these states to ensure their cultural and economic development.
  • Articles 371J and 371I – Karnataka and Goa: These articles grant special provisions to Karnataka and Goa, respectively, to address their specific requirements.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Progress track: North East Venture Fund (NEVF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: North East Venture Fund (NEVF)

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • The North East Venture Fund (NEVF) has emerged as a catalyst for startups in the region.
  • Since its inception, NEVF has invested in 37 startups, injecting a total of Rs 56.84 crores into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What is North East Venture Fund (NEVF)?

  • Establishment: The NEVF, launched by the government in 2017, has emerged as a catalyst for startups in the region.
  • SEBI Approval: NEVF is categorized as a Category I Venture Capital Fund under SEBI’s Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) Regulations, 2012.
  • Investment Committee: An independent Investment Committee, comprising experienced professionals from venture funding, private equity, and developmental banking, makes investment decisions.
  • Regulatory Reporting: Periodic reporting on operational and compliance aspects is presented to NEVF contributors and relevant bodies as mandated. This ensures transparency and adherence to regulations.
  • Regulatory Oversight: The fund’s operations are subject to monitoring by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) through regular audits.

NEVF’s Funding

  • Fund Corpus: NEVF was established as a closed-end fund with a target corpus of Rs. 100 crore.
  • Contributors: NEVF has achieved its target corpus through contributions: Rs. 30 crore from North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi), Rs. 25 crore from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and Rs. 45 crore from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER).
  • MDoNER Contribution: MDoNER’s contribution was provided as an interest-free loan to NEDFi, repayable in a lump sum after 15 years.

Successful Outreach

  • Geographical Distribution: The startups benefiting from NEVF are spread across various North Eastern states, with 24 in Assam, six in Manipur, three in Meghalaya, two in Arunachal Pradesh, and one each in Tripura and Sikkim.
  • Job Creation: The startups supported by NEVF have collectively generated 4,812 employment opportunities since FY18. Among these, 3,906 were male and 906 were female employees. Additionally, 4,076 employees were unskilled, while 736 were skilled workers.
  • Assam’s Dominance: The state of Assam witnessed the most significant job creation through NEVF-supported startups, contributing to over 4,000 job opportunities.
  • Focus Areas: The new guidelines prioritize projects that create common facilities for manufacturing, testing, packaging, research and development, and training related to natural resources found in the NER and Sikkim. This includes areas like agriculture, forestry, sericulture, and bamboo cultivation.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Free Movement Regime along India-Myanmar Border

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Free Movement Regime

Mains level: Refugess influx in NE

myanmar

Central Idea

  • The ongoing ethnic conflict between the Meiteis and Kukis in Manipur is further complicated by the issue of illegal migration of tribal Kuki-Chin people into India from Myanmar.
  • Amid this charged and sensitive debate, questions have been raised on the Free Movement Regime (FMR) that allows tribes along the Indo-Myanmar Border (IMB) to travel inside each other’s territory without a visa.

myanmar

Understanding Free Movement Regime

  • Conceptualization: The FMR was implemented in 2018 as part of the Act East policy to improve Indo-Myanmar ties.
  • Travel permit: It allows tribes living along the IMB to travel up to 16 km into the other country without a visa.
  • Ethnic and Cultural Ties: The border between India and Myanmar was demarcated without considering the opinions of the people living in the region, splitting people of the same ethnicity and culture into two nations.
  • Significance: The FMR aimed to facilitate people-to-people contact, local trade, and business, essential for livelihoods and sustenance.
  • Discontinuation: As the crisis in Myanmar unfolded, India suspended the FMR in September 2022.

Challenges created by FMR

  • Unintentional Aiding of Illegal Immigration: The porous and unfenced Indo-Myanmar border has led to concerns about illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and gun running.
  • Refugee influx: The military coup in Myanmar triggered persecution against the Kuki-Chin peoples, leading to a significant influx of Myanmarese tribals into Manipur and Mizoram, seeking shelter. Mizoram set up camps for over 40,000 refugees, despite protests from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Deforestation and Tensions: The Manipur government accused village chiefs of illegally settling migrants from Myanmar in new villages, leading to deforestation.
  • Resistance to eviction: An eviction drive triggered violence between Kukis and the government.

Possible Solutions

  • Better Regulation of FMR: Experts agree that the FMR needs better regulation to address the challenges arising from illegal activities and cross-border movements.
  • Middle Path: A middle path could be sought, addressing changing socio-politico-economic conditions in Myanmar and the dynamic demographic profile of the region.
  • Tackling the Issue: India needs to find an approach that balances addressing illicit activities and border crimes while considering the concerns and needs of the local population.

Conclusion

  • The FMR along the Indo-Myanmar Border, although intended to foster people-to-people contact and local trade, has posed challenges related to illegal migration and illegal activities.
  • While there are calls to remove the regime entirely, finding a middle path that considers the region’s socio-politico-economic dynamics and the well-being of the local population seems essential.
  • Addressing these challenges will require a careful and balanced approach, reflecting the complexities of the situation on the ground.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Kuki Groups seek Separation from Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 3

Mains level: Sub-regionalism issue in India

kuki article 3

Central Idea

  • Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), the apex body of Kuki tribes, issued a statement calling for a separate state under Article 3 of the Constitution.

Manipur violence: A quick recap

  • The ethnic conflict in Manipur originated on May 3 between the Meitei people (valley-based) and the Kuki-Zomi people (hills-based Scheduled Tribe groups).
  • The violence resulted in the forced migration of the two populations, prompting Kuki-Zomi MLAs and various groups to call for separation.

What is Article 3 of the Indian Constitution?

  • Article 3 grants the Parliament the authority to create new states, modify boundaries, and rename existing states in India.
  • It establishes the legal framework for the reorganization of states within the country.
  • Here is the text of Article 3: Parliament may by law—
  1. Form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State
  2. Increase the area of any State
  3. Diminish the area of any State
  4. Alter the boundaries of any State
  5. Alter the name of any State

Procedural Requirements

Certain procedural requirements must be fulfilled before enacting changes under Article 3:

  • Presidential Recommendation: No Bill pertaining to these matters can be introduced in Parliament without the recommendation of the President.
  • State Legislature Consultation: If a proposed bill affects the area, boundaries, or name of any state, it must be referred by the President to the concerned state legislature.
  • Time frame: The state legislature is given a specific period to express its views on the proposed changes. Additional time may be granted by the President, if necessary.

Significance of Article 3

  • Alteration for reasons: Article 3 provides a mechanism to adapt the political boundaries of states in India as per the evolving needs of the nation.
  • Power Sharing: While the Parliament holds the authority to initiate state reorganization, the consultation with the state legislature ensures a democratic process and considers the views of the affected state.
  • Regional Aspirations: Article 3 acknowledges the aspirations of various regions by allowing the formation of new states, thereby promoting regional development and administration.
  • Flexibility: The provision for altering state boundaries enables the government to address demographic changes, regional imbalances, and administrative efficiency.

Why is the demand by Kukis not feasible?

  • Social and Political Cohesion: The consideration of endorsing separate administrative setups or a greater Mizoram based on ethnic lines raises concerns about social and political cohesion in Manipur.
  • Tensions with Naga Community: Tensions between the Kuki and Naga communities in Manipur complicate the situation and have the potential to escalate conflicts.
  • Unique Cross-Border Presence: The demand for a separate homeland for the Chin-Kuki-Mizo community requires careful evaluation due to its unique cross-border presence and potential for Pan-Nationalism.
  • Implications on Regional Stability: Recognition of a separate homeland would strain relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh, impacting regional stability.

Conclusion

  • Cautious Decision-Making: The Indian government must navigate the complexities by considering the broader implications on Manipur’s stability, cross-border relations, and the risk of future conflicts stemming from ethnic separatism.
  • Inclusive Dialogue and Peace: Inclusive dialogue, addressing grievances, and promoting peace and unity among all ethnic communities involved are crucial for long-term stability and harmonious coexistence.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Manipur Crisis: What is Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: SoO Agreement

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Union Home Minister had assured that the Centre would ensure the implementation of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki insurgent groups in the hill areas.

What is the SoO Agreement?

  • The Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement signed on August 22, 2008, aimed to initiate political dialogue in Manipur’s Kuki insurgency.
  • The Kuki outfits, initially demanding a separate Kuki state, have now proposed a ‘Kukiland territorial council’ with independent financial and administrative powers.

Terms of the SoO Pact

  • Duration and Extension: The SoO agreement has a one-year duration, subject to extension based on the progress of implementation.
  • Operational Restraints: Both security forces (state and central) and underground groups are prohibited from launching operations during the SoO period.
  • Holding national integrity: The signatories, United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO), must adhere to the Constitution of India, state laws, and maintain the territorial integrity of Manipur.
  • Camps and Arms Management: Underground militant cadres are confined to designated camps identified by the Government. Arms are deposited in a secure room using a double-locking system, and they are only permitted for camp security and protection of leaders.
  • Rehabilitation: Monthly stipends of Rs 5000 and financial assistance are provided for the rehabilitation and maintenance of designated camps.

Understanding the Kuki Insurgency

[A] Historical Background:

  • The Kuki insurgency emerged alongside the Naga movement, both seeking autonomy and asserting their distinct identities.
  • Ethnic clashes between the Kukis and Nagas in Manipur during the early 1990s escalated the Kuki insurgency as a response to perceived Naga aggression.
  • A history of hostile relations between the two tribes, dating back to colonial times, intensified during the Naga-Kuki clashes.

[B] Overlapping Claims:

  • The Kukis claim land in the Manipur hills as their “homeland,” which coincides with the envisioned Naga homeland known as Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.
  • In 1993, the NSCN-IM allegedly killed approximately 115 Kuki men, women, and children in Tengnoupal, an event commemorated by the Kuki community as the ‘black day.’

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

In news: Sikkim Statehood Day

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Merger of Sikkim

Mains level: Not Much

sikkim

Sikkim Statehood Day

  • Sikkim day is annually celebrated on May 16, commemorating the integration of Sikkim with India in 1975.
  • The process of Sikkim joining India occurred about two decades after Sardar Vallabbhai Patel led the integration of princely states into India.

Sikkim’s History with the Chogyal Royals

  • The kingdom of Sikkim was established in 1642 when Phuntsong Namgyal was consecrated as the first ruler or Chogyal.
  • Sikkim’s monarchy, under the Namgyal dynasty, lasted for 333 years until its integration with India in 1975.
  • Sikkim had a Tibetan origin and was located between India and China. It often faced conflicts over land with Bhutan and Nepal.
  • The British saw Sikkim as a buffer state and established a formal relationship with it.
  • Various treaties like the Treaty of Tumlong (1861), Treaty of Titaliya (1817), Calcutta Convention (1890), and Lhasa Convention (1904) shaped the relationship between Sikkim and the British.

Independent India and Sikkim

  • After India’s independence, princely states had the option to accede to India or Pakistan.
  • Sikkim’s unique relationship with British rule led to complexities in its integration with India.
  • Sardar Vallabbhai Patel and BN Rau wanted Sikkim to sign the Instrument of Accession to integrate it with India.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the situation in Sikkim and emphasized its autonomous growth.
  • Sikkim State Congress (SSC), Praja Mandal (PM), and Praja Sudharak Samaj (PSS) demanded a popular government, abolition of landlordism, and accession to India.
  • A Standstill Agreement was signed to maintain the existing arrangement while discussions continued.

War with China

  • Sikkim had a state council with elected and nominated members.
  • Political developments in the 1960s and 1970s played a significant role in Sikkim’s status.
  • The formation of the Sikkim National Congress (SNC) in 1960 and changes in political leadership on both sides influenced the course of events.
  • India-China war of 1962 and containment of border skirmishes made it important to clarify the relationship between India and Sikkim.

How Sikkim finally joined India?

  • The Indian leadership started supporting pro-democracy forces in Sikkim, such as Kazi Dorji of the SNC.
  • Protests in Sikkim in 1973 led to a tripartite agreement between the Chogyal, the Indian government, and three major political parties.
  • Elections were held in 1974, and a new constitution limited the role of the monarch.
  • A referendum held in 1975 resulted in a majority vote in favor of joining India.
  • The Constitution (Thirty-Sixth Amendment) Bill was passed, recognizing Sikkim as a state in the Union of India.
  • Sikkim’s new parliament proposed a bill for Sikkim to become an Indian state, which was accepted by the Indian government.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Article 355 imposed in Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 355

Mains level: Read the attached story

manipur

Central Idea

  • Recently, unrest in the state of Manipur was triggered by a decision of the High Court to pursue a 10-year-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community.
  • In view of the prevailing unprecedented burning situation, the Centre has imposed Article 355 in the state, in an effort to control the situation, according to reliable sources.

What is Article 355?

  • Article 355 of the Indian Constitution is a provision that empowers the Union government to protect every state in India against external aggression and internal disturbances.
  • It is a provision under Part XVIII of the Constitution, titled “Emergency Provisions”.
  • It is based on the principle of “duty to protect” enshrined in the Constitution, which makes it mandatory for the Union government to protect every state from external and internal threats.

Restrictions under Article 355

Under Article 355, the Union government has the power to issue directions to any state to ensure compliance with the Union’s laws and regulations. However, there are certain restrictions on this power:

  • The directions can only be given when there is a failure of the state machinery to comply with or give effect to any Union law or regulation.
  • The directions should be of an urgent nature and may not extend beyond the necessary period for remedying the failure of the state machinery.
  • The state government should be given an opportunity to submit its views before the issuance of such directions.
  • The Union government cannot use this power to intervene in the internal affairs of a state unless there is a failure of the state machinery.

Duration of restriction

  • The duration of the assistance provided under Article 355 is not specified in the Constitution.
  • The Union government can withdraw its assistance when the situation is normalized or when the state government requests it to do so.
  • The duration of the assistance provided under Article 355 is subject to judicial review and can be challenged in court if it violates any fundamental rights or constitutional provisions.

Circumstances of imposition

Article 355 can be invoked by the President of India in certain circumstances, such as:

  1. When a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any of the directions given by the Union under the Constitution.
  2. When the security of India is threatened by external aggression or internal disturbance.
  3. When there is a threat to the unity and integrity of India due to any violent activities by any group or organization.
  4. When a state requests for assistance from the Union to maintain public order and the Union is satisfied that the situation in the state cannot be controlled by the state’s own forces.
  5. When a state fails to provide adequate protection to minorities, particularly in cases of communal violence.
  6. When a state government fails to ensure that the constitutional machinery is maintained in the state.

Reasonable restrictions

It is important to note that the use of Article 355 is subject to certain restrictions:

  1. The President cannot use this article on his/her own initiative; it must be done on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
  2. The use of Article 355 does not authorize the President to intervene directly in the affairs of the state.
  3. The President can use this article only to give directions to the state government, and not to the state legislature or the judiciary.
  4. The use of Article 355 should be limited in duration and scope, and should not result in the permanent erosion of the state’s autonomy or the violation of its constitutional rights.

Centrestage of the row: Meitei Community

  • Manipur is geographically divided into the Imphal Valley and the surrounding hills.
  • The Imphal Valley is dominated by the non-tribal Meitei community, which accounts for more than 64% of the population.
  • The hills, which comprise 90% of Manipur’s geographical area, are inhabited by more than 35% recognized tribes, which are largely Christians.
  • The Meiteis are largely Hindus followed by Muslims, while the 33 recognized tribes are broadly classified into ‘Any Naga tribes’ and ‘Any Kuki tribes.’

Behind the ST status: The Meitei Argument

  • The Manipur High Court directed the State government to submit a 10-year-old recommendation for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.
  • The ST status is needed to “preserve” the community and “save the ancestral land, tradition, culture, and language” of the Meiteis.
  • The Meiteis were recognized as a tribe before the merger of the State with the Union of India in 1949.

Tribal groups’ opposition to the ST Status

  • Advantaged community: Many tribal groups say the Meiteis have a demographic and political advantage besides being more advanced than them academically and in other aspects.
  • Benefits at others cost: They feel the ST status to the Meiteis would lead to loss of job opportunities and allow them to acquire land in the hills and push the tribals out.
  • Already benefited: The language of the Meitei people is included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, and many of them have access to benefits associated with the SC, OBC, or EWS status.
  • Political vendetta: The demand for ST status is a ploy to attenuate the fervent political demands of the Kukis and Nagas, as well as a tacit strategy of the dominant valley dwellers to make inroads into the hill areas of the State.

Immediate triggers of unrest

  • Some tribal groups with vested interests are trying to scuttle Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh’s crusade against drugs.
  • The anti-drug drive began with destroying poppy fields and the theory that “illegal settlers” from Myanmar — ethnically related to the Kuki-Zomi people of Manipur — are behind clearing forests and government lands to grow opium and cannabis.
  • The first violent protest on March 10 was against the eviction of the residents of a Kuki village.
  • The large-scale arson and violence claiming the life of at least one person on May 3 and 4 followed a “tribal solidarity rally” against the reported move to include the Meiteis in the ST list.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

What is Article 371F?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 371, 371F

Mains level: Special provisions for some States

371

Former Sikkim CM claimed that the Sikkimese people feel betrayed as Article 371F, which guarantees special provisions for Sikkim, was “violated”.

What is Article 371F?

  • Article 371F is a special provision in the Constitution of India that was created to provide for the unique status of Sikkim, a state located in the northeastern part of India.
  • Sikkim was an independent kingdom until 1975, when it became the 22nd state of India.
  • Article 371F was included in the Constitution to ensure that Sikkim’s distinct identity and cultural heritage were protected and preserved after its merger with India.

Special provisions for Sikkim

Under Article 371F, Sikkim has been granted several special provisions that are not available to other states in India. Some of the key provisions of Article 371F are:

  • Protection of Sikkimese people: Only the descendants of Sikkim subjects (those who lived in the state before its merger with India) whose names were mentioned in the 1961 register are considered Sikkimese and are entitled to certain benefits, such as the right to own land and get state government jobs. They are also exempted from paying income tax.
  • Legislative powers: The Governor of Sikkim has special powers with respect to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, including the power to nominate one member to the Assembly and the power to give his or her assent to certain bills.
  • Constitutional safeguards: Certain constitutional safeguards have been provided to the people of Sikkim to protect their distinct identity and cultural heritage.
  • Formation of Committees: The Central Government has the power to appoint a committee of experts to advise on matters related to Sikkim, and the State Government can also appoint committees to examine issues related to the protection of Sikkim’s unique identity.

Why in news?

  • The Financial Bill, 2023 redefined Sikkimese as any Indian citizen domiciled in Sikkim, which would extend these benefits to a broader population.
  • This move is seen as a violation of Article 371F, which was the basis for Sikkim’s merger with India in 1975.

Concerns highlighted

  • The leader claimed that the people of Sikkim feel betrayed by the violation of Article 371F.
  • He alleged that Sikkim has become a hotbed for political violence.
  • He claimed that unrest in a sensitive border state like Sikkim is not good for national security.

Back2Basics: Article 371

  • It is a provision in the Constitution of India that grants special provisions and autonomy to certain states in India.
  • It is a set of temporary and transitional provisions that were included in the Constitution to address the specific needs and aspirations of various regions and communities in the country.
  • The provisions of Article 371 differ from state to state, depending on the specific needs and demands of the region. For instance:
  1. Maharashtra and Gujarat: Article 371 provides for special provisions for the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, which grants certain rights and privileges to the people of the Marathi-speaking areas of Maharashtra and the Gujarati-speaking areas of Gujarat.
  2. Nagaland: Article 371A provides for special provisions and autonomy for the state of Nagaland. It grants the Nagaland Legislative Assembly special powers with respect to lawmaking, and prohibits outsiders from acquiring land in the state.
  3. Assam: Article 371B provides for special provisions for the state of Assam, which includes the establishment of a regional council for the state and grants the council certain legislative and executive powers.
  4. Manipur: Article 371C provides for special provisions for the state of Manipur. It gives the Manipur Legislative Assembly the power to enact laws related to land, forests, and minerals, and also provides for the protection of the rights of the hill tribes in the state.
  5. Andhra Pradesh: Article 371D provides for the establishment of a special committee to oversee the development of backward regions in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The provisions are aimed at promoting the development and welfare of the people in these states, while preserving their unique cultural and linguistic identity.

 


 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Yuva Sangam Portal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Yuva Sangam

Mains level: Not Much

The Union Ministry of Education has launched the “Yuva Sangam” registration portal.

Yuva Sangam

  • The Yuva Sangam is an initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister to build close ties between the youth of North East Region and rest of India under the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.
  • Yuva Sangam embodies the philosophy of our rich culture, our glorious history and ancient heritage.
  • Youth between the ages of 18 and 30 will take part in this program.
  • Over 20000 youth will travel across India and gain a unique opportunity of cross cultural learning.
  • Through the course of the program, students will interact with each other in the areas of language, literature, cuisine, festivals, cultural events and tourism.
  • They will get a first-hand experience of living in a completely different geographical and cultural scenario.

Significance of the program

  • The program will give an opportunity to see, know, and understand India and do something for the country.
  • This is yet another initiative of PM Modi for cementing the bond between the northeast and the rest of India.
  • Yuva Sangam will celebrate India`s diversity, rejuvenate the spirit of oneness and highlight the strength of India`s democracy as envisioned by the PM.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Two years of Myanmar Coup and Concerns for India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Military coup in Myanmar

myanmar coup

It is exactly two years since the Myanmar army seized power.

Myanmar Coup: A quick recap

  • A coup in Myanmar began on the morning of 1 February 2021, when democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, were deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar’s military.
  • The coup occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the 2020 election, thereby preventing this from occurring.
  • Pivot leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained, along with ministers, their deputies, and members of Parliament.

India’s continuing policy tightrope in Myanmar

  • For some three decades, India has pursued a ‘Dual-Track Policy’ which essentially means doing business with the junta.
  • India shares a 1,600 km border with Myanmar along four NE states.
  • It has a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal, the failure of the Myanmar state presents a foreign policy dilemma that it is struggling to resolve.
  • It has ruled over Myanmar for all but five years since 1990, with tea and sympathy for the pro-democracy forces.

Why in news now?

Ans. Pro-democracy armed rebellion within

  • Hundreds of armed pro-democracy civilian resistance groups (People’s Defence Forces) are fighting the junta and turning swathes of the country into no-go areas for the army.
  • In addition some among the two dozen ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) that have been fighting the Myanmar state for autonomy for the last seven decades, have joined hands with the PDFs.

India’s concerns

  • Chinese inroads: Over the last two decades, as China with its deep pockets emerged as a rival in the region, engaging with the junta was also seen as a way to retain Indian influence in Myanmar.
  • No democratic restoration: Delhi had to calibrate this engagement during the “democratic transition” of the last decade and rebalance the dual track.
  • Narrowed interests: These are becoming apparent, even going by India’s narrowly defined national interests: border security management, and restricting China in Myanmar.
  • Limitations to strategy: India has limited to its old template of engagement— doing business with the military regime, encouraging it restore democracy, and offering sympathy to democratic forces.

Recent success: Completion of Sittwe Port

  • In the first week of January, Sittwe port, developed by India as part of the Kaladan project, was ready for operation.
  • It is set to be inaugurated soon.

Five ways in which India’s calculations have been upset

  • Bluff over connectivity: While maritime trade was one objective, the primary objective of this project, to provide alternate access to India’s landlocked north-east states, now seems like a bridge too far.
  • Huge refugee influx: Mizoram is hosting tens of thousands of refugees from the adjoining Chin state in Myanmar. Refugees have come into other Northeastern states, though in fewer numbers.
  • Clouds of terrorism: More dangerously, the recent bombing by the Myanmar Air Force of a Chin militia headquarters on the border with Mizoram, with shrapnel hitting the Indian side during this operation, triggered panic in the area.
  • Narcotics smuggling: Another potential cross-border spillovers is contained in the latest report of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime on Myanmar (Myanmar Opium Survey).
  • Supporting insurgents in India: Myanmar junta has recruited Indian insurgent group (IIGs) in regions adjoining Manipur and Nagaland to fight against the local PDFs and other groups.
  • Worsening of Rohingya crisis: The military cannot resolve the Rohingya crisis, another regional destabilizer.

Way forward for India

  • Championing this cause in G20: India has projected its year-long presidency of the G20 as an opportunity to project the voice of the global south.
  • Extra-diplomatic engagement: India can open channels to the democratic forces and to some ethnic groups; it can work more actively with ASEAN; it could open an army-to-army channel with the junta; increase people-to-people channels; offer scholarships to Myanmar students like it did for Afghan students in a different era.
  • Ensuring fair elections: The junta is mulling elections later this year after rejigging the first-past-the-post system to proportional representation to undermine the NLD’s electoral might.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

PM greets people on Statehood day of Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: States reorganization in India

Mains level: Read the attached story

state

Prime Minister has greeted people of three northeast states- Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya on their Statehood Day.

What is the news?

  • Today marks the 51st anniversary of the formation of the states, which were created on this day in 1972.
  • While Manipur and Tripura were princely states which were absorbed into India in October 1949, Meghalaya, on the other hand, was part of Assam.
  • The states came into being the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, enacted on December 30 that year.

Quick backgrounder

  • These states attained statehood under the North Eastern Region (Reorganization) Act of 1971.
  • The NE composition consisted of Assam plains from the old Assam Province, the hill districts, and the North Eastern Frontier Tracts (NEFT) of the North-Eastern borderland.
  • Later on the NE region was turned into seven sisters with the statehood of Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland.

[1] Meghalaya

  • Apart from accounts of the more essential Khasi kingdoms in the chronicles of the neighbouring Ahoms and Kacharis, little is known of Meghalaya prior to the British rule.
  • However, in the early 19th century, the British desire to build a road through the region to link Bengal and Assam led to a treaty with the ruler (Syiem) of the Khasi principality of Nonkhlaw.
  • In 1829, opponents of the treaty persuaded the Syiem to repudiate it, and a subsequent attack on Britishers led inevitably to its military operations against the Khasis.
  • By the mid-1830s, most local rulers had submitted to the British.
  • For the next century, the British exercised its political control over the area, then known as the Garrows and Cossiya (Khasi) States, but the tribals who were left to fend themselves managed to preserve their traditional culture in seclusion.

Integration into India

  • In 1947, the rulers of the region acceded to the newly independent India.
  • The first PM Nehru evolved a policy to preserve and protect the culture of the tribal people.
  • The region was given special protection in the Indian constitution along with other tribal areas, and it retained a great deal of autonomy.
  • In 1960, when Assamese became the state’s official language, agitation for autonomy and self-rule gathered strength.
  • Unlike many other hill regions in north-eastern India, this movement was largely peaceful and constitutional.
  • In 1970, Meghalaya became an autonomous state within Assam and achieved full statehood on January 21, 1972.

[2] Manipur

  • Over 500 princely states had negotiated their accession to the Indian union before independence.
  • According to News Nine, the rulers of these states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’.
  • On August 11, 1947, Bodhachandra Singh, then Maharaja of Manipur, signed the document. He had been assured that the autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
  • Elections were held in Manipur in June 1948, but its legislative assembly had differences of opinion on the merger.
  • However, the Maharaja signed a Merger Agreement with India in September 1949.

[3] Tripura

  • Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty ruled the former princely state of Tripura.
  • It was an independent administrative unit under the Maharaja even during British rule in India.
  • However, according to Tripura State Portal, this independence was qualified, subject to the Britishers’ recognition, as the paramount power of each successive ruler.
  • As per Rajmala, in the royal chronology of Tripura, around 184 kings ruled over the state before it merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949.
  • Since then, the history of Tripura has been interspersed with various political, economic and social developments.

Attainment of full statehood

  • On January 26, 1950, Tripura was accorded the status of a ‘C’ category state, and on November 1, 1956, it was recognized as a Union Territory.
  • With its people’s sustained efforts and struggle, it gained full statehood on January 21, 1972, as per the North-East Reorganisation Act, 1971.
  • Its democratic set-up further stretched to the village level in 1978 with an election to the local bodies that ultimately culminated in introducing a three-tier Panchayati Raj System.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Kuki-Chin Refugees Issue

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kuki-Chin refugees

Mains level: Refugee influx in NE

kuki chin

As another round of refugee crisis brews on the Mizoram-Bangladesh border, several members of the Kuki-Chin community were “pushed back” by the Border Security Force (BSF).

Who are the Kuki Chins?

  • The Chins of Myanmar, the Mizos of Mizoram and the Kukis of Bangladesh are of the same ancestry and belong to the Kuki ethnic group native to the Mizo hills.
  • They are collectively called the Zo people.
  • The Kuki Chin people are settled in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the only extensive hill area in Bangladesh that lies in the southeastern part of the country.
  • It borders Myanmar on the southeast, Tripura on the north, Mizoram on the east and the Chittagong district in the west.
  • Mizoram shares a 318-km stretch of international border with Bangladesh.

Why are they fleeing to Mizoram?

  • Already, since 2021, around 30,000 Kuki Chin refugees from Myanmar have sought shelter in Mizoram.
  • They have been escaping the crackdown by the military junta in Myanmar and identity-loss in Bangladesh.

Roots of their insurgency

  • The roots of Kuki militancy lie in conflicts of ethnic identity.
  • First was the demand for self-determination solely for groups belonging to their ethnic fabric, meaning the dream to form a Kukiland.
  • The second reason for insurgency lies in the inter-community conflicts between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur.
  • The Kuki-Naga conflict was started over securing identity and land as some Kuki-inhabited areas coincided with Naga-inhabited areas.
  • Wanting to dominate trade and cultural activities in those areas the two communities often engaged in violent standoffs, with villages being torched, civilians killed and so on.

What is India’s Stand?

  • The authorities are prepared to handle the inflow.
  • India would be extending help and shelter to the refugees coming in from Bangladesh on humanitarian ground.
  • A meeting of the Mizoram Cabinet decided to provide temporary shelter, food and medicine to the refugees who have already crossed over.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Private: Naga issue

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Naga Peace Process

naga

The Government of India is ready to incorporate the Yehzabo, the Naga Constitution, into the Indian Constitution and has agreed for a civil and cultural flag for the Nagas.

Who are the Naga?

  • The term Naga was created by the British for administrative convenience to refer to a group of tribes with similar origins but distinct cultures, dialects, and customs.
  • The Naga tribes are accumulated in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Myanmar.

Why in news?

  • Naga separatists group has timely reiterated that the ‘Naga National flag’ and ‘Yehzabo’ (Constitution) are non-negotiable issues.

Has the GoI agreed to this?

  • The Centre is clear that there cannot be two Constitutions and two flags in the country.
  • The Yehzabo will be incorporated into the Indian Constitution by presenting a Bill in Parliament.
  • As far as flag is concerned, it will only be used for civil and cultural functions, but not in any government function.

Why did the Naga insurgency begin?

  • Residing in the Naga Hills of Assam during the advent of the British and the annexation of Assam in 1820, the Nagas did not consider themselves a part of British India.
  • The British adopted a way of governance over the Nagas that involved keeping in place their traditional ways of life, customs, and laws while putting British administrators at the top.
  • At the time of the withdrawal of the British, insecurity grew among the Naga tribes about the future of their cultural autonomy after India’s independence.
  • This was accompanied by the fear of the entry of “plains people” or “outsiders” into their territory.

Do you know?

In a memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929, representatives of Naga tribes demanded that Nagas be left free after Independence and not be included in the Indian Union.

Collective actions of the Nagas

  • Above mentioned factors gave rise to the formation of the Naga Hills District Tribal Council in 1945, which was renamed the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946.
  • Amid uncertainties over the post-independence future of the Nagas, a section of the NNC, led by Naga leader A.Z. Phizo declared the independence of the Nagas on August 14, 1947.
  • The underground insurgency began in the early 1950s when Mr. Phizo founded the Naga Federal Government (NFG) and its armed wing, the Naga Federal Army (NFA).

Outcome of the then insurgency

  • The Central Government sent the armed forces into Naga areas to curb the insurgency.
  • It imposed the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which is still in place in parts of Nagaland.
  • The Nagas, led by Mr. Phizo, demanding an independent state outside of India, boycotted the 1952 and 1957 general elections and armed clashes grew.
  • Unlike other groups in the north east which were accepting some form of autonomy under the Constitution, Nagas rejected this in favour of sovereignty.

Negotiations with the govt

  • Some leaders among the NNC formed their own group to hold discussions with the government, leading to the formation of the State of Nagaland in 1963.
  • This, however, did not satisfy many in the NNC and NFG, who, following years of negotiations with the government, eventually signed the Shillong Accord of 1975, agreeing to surrender arms and accept the Constitution.

When did the NSCN come into the picture?

  • This signing of the Shillong Accord was not agreeable with many top leaders of the NNC and those operating from Myanmar.
  • A/c to them, the agreement did not address the issue of Naga sovereignty and coerced them to accept the Constitution.
  • Three NNC rebel leaders, formed the National Socialist Council Of Nagaland (NSCN) to continue the armed movement for ‘independence’.

Again split in NSCN

  • In 1988, after years of infighting and violent clashes along tribal lines and over the main cause of the movement, the NSCN split into two factions.
  • One, led by Mr. Muiwah and Swu called the NSCN-IM and the other, led by Mr. Khaplang called the NSCN-K.
  • The NSCN-IM demanded and continues to demand for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim.
  • It wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in the neighbouring States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The NSCN-IM has now grown to become the most powerful insurgent group, also playing a role in the creation of smaller groups in other States.

Where do the peace talks stand now?

  • In 1997, the Government of India got the NSCN-IM to sign a ceasefire agreement to begin the holding of talks with the aim of signing a Naga Peace Accord.
  • After this ceasefire, there have been over a hundred rounds of talks spanning over 24 years between the Centre and the insurgent group, while a solution is still awaited.

Issues of contention

  • Independence celebration: Nagas across Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh celebrate August 14 as Independence Day. According to Naga historians, Gandhi agreed that the Nagas would celebrate their independence a day ahead of India, on August 14, 1947.
  • Naga flag: In the Naga narrative, passed down generations by word of mouth, the Naga flag was not designed by a mortal but is of divine origin.
  • Secessionist tendencies: A large section of the Nagas still holds dear the idea of the Naga identity and their tribal roots.

Way ahead

  • The Naga struggle claimed thousands of lives over decades and devastated countless homes, all over the idea of a sovereign Naga nation.
  • If the NSCN (I-M) accedes to economic and political packages alone, without a separate flag and constitution, it remains to be seen whether it will be seen as a solution, or as a defeat.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

KHADC to invite talks on Instrument of Accession

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Autonomous District Council (ADC)

Mains level: Read the attached story

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in Meghalaya has called for a meeting of traditional heads to revisit the Instrument of Accession that made the Khasi domain a part of the Indian Union.

About KHADC

  • KHADC is an autonomous district council in the state of Meghalaya in India.
  • It is one of the three autonomous district councils within Meghalaya, and one of twenty-five autonomous regions of India.
  • Meghalaya is divided into three regions dominated by as many matrilineal communities — the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias.
  • The Khasi hills straddle 25 Himas or States that formed the Federation of Khasi States.

Why in news?

  • Some members of the KHADC agreed that the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement signed with the Dominion of India between December 15, 1947 and March 19, 1948, should be studied.
  • The treaty was signed by Governor General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, on August 17, 1948.

What is Instrument of Accession?

  • It was a legal document first introduced by the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • It was used in 1947 to enable each of the rulers of the princely states under British paramountcy to join one of the new dominions of India or Pakistan created by the Partition.
  • The instruments of accession executed by the rulers, provided for the accession of states to the Dominion of India (or Pakistan) on three subjects, namely, defence, external affairs and communications.

Back2Basics: Autonomous District Council (ADC)

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution allows for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions which have been given autonomy within their respective states.
  • Most of these ADC are located in North East India with the exception of two in Ladakh and one in West Bengal.
  • 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 legislations.

Powers and competencies

(1) Executive and legislative powers

Under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule, ADCs 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
  • Sanitation
  • 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

(2) Judicial powers

  • ADCs have powers to form courts.
  • They can hear cases where both parties are members of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the maximum sentence is less than 5 years in prison.

(3) 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.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

How Sikkim became a part of India?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: States reorganization

Mains level: Read the attached story

It was on May 16, 1975 that Sikkim became 22nd state of the Union of India.

Why in news?

  • While in many modern narratives, the tale of the former kingdom under the Namgyal dynasty acquiring Indian statehood begins in decades close to the 1970s.
  • The real story, according to experts, can only be understood by tracing the events back to 1640s when Namgyal rule was first established.

Sikkim’s accession into India: A complete timeline

(1) Attacks during Namgyal Rule

  • Beginning with Phuntsog Namgyal, the first chogyal (monarch), the Namgyal dynasty ruled Sikkim until 1975.
  • At one point, the kingdom of Sikkim included the Chumbi valley (part of China now) and Darjeeling.
  • In the early 1700s, the region saw a series of conflicts between Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, which resulted in a shrinking of Sikkim’s territorial boundaries.

(2) Under East India Company

  • When the British arrived, their expansion plans in the Indian subcontinent included controlling the Himalayan states.
  • The kingdom of Nepal, meanwhile, continued with its attempts to expand its territory.
  • This resulted in the Anglo-Nepalese war (November, 1814 to March, 1816), also known as the Gorkha war, which was fought between the Gorkhali army and the East India Company.
  • Both sides had ambitious expansion plans for the strategically important mountainous north of the Indian subcontinent.
  • In 1814, Sikkim allied with the East India Company in the latter’s campaign against Nepal.
  • The Company won and restored to Sikkim some of the territories that Nepal had wrested from it in 1780.

(3) Administrative control of British

  • A turning point in the history of Sikkim involves with the appointment of John Claude White as Political Officer of Sikkim.
  • Sikkim by then was a British Protectorate under the Treaty of Tumlong signed in March, 1861.
  • As with most of the Indian subcontinent that the British had under their administrative control, the kingdom of Sikkim, although a protectorate, had little choice in the administration of its own kingdom.
  • The Namgyal monarch could not criticise decisions made by the British, but the ruler did complain about this influx of Nepali migrants into the kingdom.

(4) Scenario after 1947

  • Three years after India’s Independence in 1947, Sikkim became a protectorate of India.
  • In 1950, a treaty was signed between the then Sikkim monarch Tashi Namgyal and India’s then Political Officer in Sikkim, Harishwar Dayal.
  • A clause in the treaty read: “Sikkim shall continue to be a Protectorate of India and, subject to the provisions of this Treaty, shall enjoy autonomy in regard to its internal affairs.”

(5) Chinese invasion of Tibet

  • China’s invasion of Tibet in 1949 and Nepal’s attacks on Sikkim throughout the kingdom’s history were cited as reasons why the kingdom needed the support and protection of a powerful ally.
  • Further, the talk of persecution of Tibetans after China’s arrival at the scene generated fear of the possibility of Sikkim suffering a similar fate.

(6) Dalai Lama’s Arrival

  • In March 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet.
  • After the Dalai Lama reached Indian borders, he and his entourage settled at the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A month later, he travelled to Mussoorie, where he met then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to discuss the future of the Tibetan refugees who had travelled with him.
  • The repercussions of India’s decision to welcome and give refuge to the Dalai Lama sent a message to some in Sikkim that unlike China, aligning with India would guarantee their protection and security.
  • This was the perspective of the ruling elite in Sikkim.

(7) Public discontent against monarchy

  • The period between the 1950s and the 1970s marked growing discontent in Sikkim.
  • Primarily, there was anger against the monarchy because of growing inequality and feudal control.
  • Anti-monarchy protests grew in 1973, following which the royal palace was surrounded by thousands of protesters.
  • Indian troops arrived after the monarch was left with no choice but to ask New Delhi to send assistance.
  • Finally, a tripartite agreement was signed in the same year between the chogyal, the Indian government, and three major political parties, so that major political reforms could be introduced.

(8) Attempts for constitutional development

  • A year later, in 1974, elections were held, where the Sikkim State Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji won, defeating pro-independence parties.
  • That year, a new constitution was adopted, which restricted the role of the monarch to a titular post, which Palden Thondup Namgyal bitterly resented.
  • In the same year, India upgraded Sikkim’s status from protectorate to “associated state”, allotting to it one seat each in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • Opposed to the move, the monarch attempted to bring international attention to it soon after.

(9) Finally accession into India

  • A referendum was held in 1975 where an overwhelming majority voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and joining India.
  • A total 59,637 voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and joining India, with only 1,496 voting against.
  • Sikkim’s new parliament, led by Kazi Lhendup Dorjee, proposed a bill for Sikkim to become an Indian state, which was accepted by the Indian government.

 

Also try this PYQ:

Q.The latitudes that pass through Sikkim also pass through:

(a) Rajasthan

(b) Punjab

(c) Himachal Pradesh

(d) Jammu & Kashmir

 

Post your answers here.
5
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Status of the Naga Peace Talks

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Various Naga tribes

Mains level: Naga Peace Process

The annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a report on insurgency-related incidents in Nagaland.

It recently said that the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) was involved in 44% of insurgency-related incidents in 2020.

Why in news?

  • The Union government had, in 2015, signed a framework agreement with the NSCN-IM to find a solution to the Naga political issue.
  • The negotiations are yet to be concluded.

Who are the Nagas?

  • The term Naga was created by the British for administrative convenience to refer to a group of tribes with similar origins but distinct cultures, dialects, and customs.
  • The Naga tribes are accumulated in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Myanmar.

Why did the Naga insurgency begin?

  • Residing in the Naga hills of Assam during the advent of the British and the annexation of Assam in 1820, the Nagas did not consider themselves a part of British India.
  • The British adopted a way of governance over the Nagas that involved keeping in place their traditional ways of life, customs, and laws while putting British administrators at the top.
  • At the time of the withdrawal of the British, insecurity grew among the Naga tribes about the future of their cultural autonomy after India’s independence.
  • This was accompanied by the fear of the entry of “plains people” or “outsiders” into their territory.

Do you know?

In a memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929, representatives of Naga tribes demanded that Nagas be left free after Independence and not be included in the Indian Union.

Collective actions of the Nagas

  • Above mentioned factors gave rise to the formation of the Naga Hills District Tribal Council in 1945, which was renamed the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946.
  • Amid uncertainties over the post-independence future of the Nagas, a section of the NNC, led by Naga leader A.Z. Phizo declared the independence of the Nagas on August 14, 1947.
  • The underground insurgency began in the early 1950s when Mr. Phizo founded the Naga Federal Government (NFG) and its armed wing, the Naga Federal Army (NFA).

Outcome of the then insurgency

  • The Central Government sent the armed forces into Naga areas to curb the insurgency.
  • It imposed the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which is still in place in parts of Nagaland.
  • The Nagas, led by Mr. Phizo, demanding an independent state outside of India, boycotted the 1952 and 1957 general elections and armed clashes grew.
  • Unlike other groups in the north east which were accepting some form of autonomy under the Constitution, Nagas rejected this in favour of sovereignty.

Negotiations with the govt

  • Some leaders among the NNC formed their own group to hold discussions with the government, leading to the formation of the State of Nagaland in 1963.
  • This, however, did not satisfy many in the NNC and NFG, who, following years of negotiations with the government, eventually signed the Shillong Accord of 1975, agreeing to surrender arms and accept the Constitution.

When did the NSCN come into the picture?

  • This signing of the Shillong Accord was not agreeable with many top leaders of the NNC and those operating from Myanmar.
  • A/c to them, the agreement did not address the issue of Naga sovereignty and coerced them to accept the Constitution.
  • Three NNC rebel leaders, formed the National Socialist Council Of Nagaland (NSCN) to continue the armed movement for ‘independence’.

Again split in NSCN

  • In 1988, after years of infighting and violent clashes along tribal lines and over the main cause of the movement, the NSCN split into two factions.
  • One, led by Mr. Muiwah and Swu called the NSCN-IM and the other, led by Mr. Khaplang called the NSCN-K.
  • The NSCN-IM demanded and continues to demand for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim.
  • It wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in the neighbouring States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The NSCN-IM has now grown to become the most powerful insurgent group, also playing a role in the creation of smaller groups in other States.

Where do the peace talks stand now?

  • In 1997, the Government of India got the NSCN-IM to sign a ceasefire agreement to begin the holding of talks with the aim of signing a Naga Peace Accord.
  • After this ceasefire, there have been over a hundred rounds of talks spanning over 24 years between the Centre and the insurgent group, while a solution is still awaited.

Issues of contention

  • Independence celebration: Nagas across Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh celebrate August 14 as Independence Day. According to Naga historians, Gandhi agreed that the Nagas would celebrate their independence a day ahead of India, on August 14, 1947.
  • Naga flag: In the Naga narrative, passed down generations by word of mouth, the Naga flag was not designed by a mortal but is of divine origin.
  • Secessionist tendencies: A large section of the Nagas still holds dear the idea of the Naga identity and their tribal roots.

Way ahead

  • The Naga struggle claimed thousands of lives over decades and devastated countless homes, all over the idea of a sovereign Naga nation.
  • If the NSCN (I-M) accedes to economic and political packages alone, without a separate flag and constitution, it remains to be seen whether it will be seen as a solution, or as a defeat.

 

Also read,

[Burning Issue] Naga Peace Talks

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Explained: Arunachal-Assam Boundary Dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Assam's border disputes with its each neighbours

Less than a month after the Union government gave the seal of approval to an agreement to partially resolve the disputed sectors on the Assam-Meghalaya border, Arunachal Pradesh CM and his Assam counterpart decided to form district-level committees for settling their inter-state boundary disputes.

Arunachal-Assam Boundary Dispute

  • Assam has had boundary disputes with all the north-eastern states that were carved out of it.
  • While Nagaland became a State in 1963, Meghalaya first became an Autonomous State in 1970 and a full-fledged State in 1972.
  • Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were separated from Assam as Union Territories in 1972 and as States in 1987.
  • None of the new States accepted the “constitutional boundary” that they said was dictated by the partisan administration of undivided Assam without consulting the tribal stakeholders.
  • They also claimed that the disputed areas were traditionally under the control of tribal chieftains before Assam, post-India’s independence, inherited the “imaginary boundaries” drawn during British rule.
  • The issue with Arunachal Pradesh has more to do with a 1951 report prepared by a sub-committee headed by Assam’s first Chief Minister, Gopinath Bordoloi.

Genesis of the dispute

  • Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have disputes at about 1,200 points along their 804 km boundary.
  • The disputes cropped up in the 1970s and intensified in the 1990s with frequent flare-ups along the border.
  • However, the issue dates back to 1873 when the British government introduced the inner-line permit vaguely separating the plains from the frontier hills.
  • This area became the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954, three years after a notification based on the 1951 report saw 3,648 sq. km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills being transferred to the Darrang and Lakhimpur districts of Assam.
  • Arunachal has been celebrating its statehood with an eye on China since 1987, but what has been causing resentment is the inability of the people living in the transferred patches.
  • Leaders in Arunachal Pradesh claim the transfer was done arbitrarily without consulting its tribes who had customary rights over these lands.
  • Their counterparts in Assam say the 1951 demarcation is constitutional and legal.

Earlier attempts for resolving dispute

  • There were several efforts to demarcate the boundary between Assam and NEFA/Arunachal Pradesh between 1971 and 1974.
  • To end the stalemate, a high-powered tripartite committee involving the Centre and the two States was formed in April 1979 to delineate the boundary based on Survey of India maps.
  • About 489 km of the inter-state boundary north of the Brahmaputra River was demarcated by 1984, but Arunachal did not accept the recommendations and staked claim to much of the areas transferred in 1951.
  • Assam objected and approached the Supreme Court in 1989, accusing Arunachal Pradesh of “encroachment”.
  • The apex court-appointed a local boundary commission in 2006 headed by one of its retired judges.
  • In its September 2014 report, this commission recommended that Arunachal Pradesh should get back some of the areas transferred in 1951. However, this did not work out.

Way forward

  • Following the model adopted in the exercise to resolve the dispute with Meghalaya, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have agreed to form district-level committees.
  • They will be tasked with undertaking joint surveys in the disputed sectors to find tangible solutions to the long-pending issue based on historical perspective, ethnicity, contiguity, people’s will and administrative convenience.
  • The two States have decided to form 12 such committees involving the districts sharing the boundary. Assam has eight districts touching the boundary with Arunachal Pradesh, which has 12 such districts.

Conclusion

  • The Assam-Meghalaya boundary agreement has raised hopes of the Assam-Arunachal boundary dispute being resolved.
  • This is especially in light of egging the north-eastern States to end their territorial issues once and for all by August 15, 2022, when the country celebrates 75 years of independence.
  • Moreover, there is a general belief that the region’s sister-States are in a better position to fast-track the resolution since they are ruled by the present regime with the same dispensation at the Centre.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Towards a peaceful, stable Northeast

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AFSPA

Mains level: Paper 2- Peace process in Northeast

Context

Progress in settling border disputes, removal of AFSPA herald positive changes in the region.

Significant development for restoring normalcy in the region

  • Efforts to address the issues of the Northeast have been moving according to a strategic plan which is premised on three objectives —
  • 1] Ending all disputes.
  • 2] Ushering in economic progress and taking the region’s contribution to GDP back to its pre-Independence levels,
  • 3] making efforts to maintain and preserve the region’s languages, dialects, dance, music, food, and culture and make it attractive for the whole country.
  • In this regard, two recent developments are significant:
  • On March 29, the Assam and Meghalaya chief ministers signed an agreement to resolve the five-decade-old border dispute.
  • The Union home ministry (MHA) decided to reduce the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur after decades.

Progress on the border disputes

  • As part of the strategy, existing issues of both interstate border disputes and insurgency have been closely studied and negotiated and a few agreements have been signed.
  • Assam, with the maximum border disputes in the region, got into a proactive border dialogue.
  • The dialogues on the state’s border disputes with Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are continuing at a steady pace.
  • After the violent flare-ups witnessed last year at the Assam-Mizoram border, today there are regular engagements to maintain peace and work out a permanent solution.
  • The model of Assam’s engagement with Meghalaya, is a good one to emulate — the two chief ministers, after two rounds of talks in August last year, constituted three committees each under cabinet ministers in their states to go into the complex boundary issues.

Significance of notification on AFSPA

  • Peace has been witnessed in most places across Assam, and even in Nagaland and Manipur talks with various groups for a permanent solution had resulted in a cessation of violence.
  • The NLFT Tripura Agreement (August 2019), the Bru Agreement (January 2020), the Bodo Peace Accord (January 2020) and the Karbi Anglong Agreement (September 2021) have actually resulted in about 7,000 militants surrendering their arms.
  • Removal of DAN: So the demand for the removal of the disturbed areas notification (DAN) was very much justified.
  • DAN has been in force in the whole of Assam since 1990, in all of Manipur (except the Imphal Municipality area) since 2004 and in the whole of Nagaland since 1995.
  • With the removal of the DAN tag, AFSPA has been removed with effect from April 1 this year completely from 23 districts and partially from one district of Assam, from 15 police station areas of six districts of Manipur and from 15 police station areas in seven districts in Nagaland.
  •  DAN is currently applicable in only three districts and in two police station areas in one other district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • AFSPA was completely removed from Tripura in 2015 and Meghalaya in 2018, respectively.

Conclusion

The efforts by the Union government to make the northeastern region the main pillar of the Act East policy have been useful in bringing a sense of political stability that is very crucial for optimal economic development and capacity enhancement in the region.

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Assam-Meghalaya Boundary Dispute Resolution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Boundary disputes in North-East

Assam and Meghalaya partially resolved a 50-year-old dispute along their 884.9 km boundary.

What is the news?

  • An agreement was signed between Assam CM and his Meghalaya counterpart in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
  • According to the partial boundary deal, Assam will get 18.51 sq. km of the 36.79 sq. km disputed area while Meghalaya will get the remaining 18.28 sq. km.
  • The agreement is expected to pave the way for resolving disputes in the boundary and similar areas of difference between Assam and three other NE States.

What is the Assam-Meghalaya Boundary Dispute?

  • Meghalaya, carved out of Assam as an autonomous State in 1970, became a full-fledged State in 1972.
  • The creation of the new State was based on the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, which the Meghalaya government refused to accept.
  • This was because the Act followed the recommendations of a 1951 committee to define the boundary of Meghalaya.
  • On that panel’s recommendations, areas of the present-day East Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi and West Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya were transferred to the Karbi Anglong, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup districts of Assam.
  • Meghalaya contested these transfers after statehood, claiming that they belonged to its tribal chieftains.
  • Assam said the Meghalaya government could neither provide documents nor archival materials to prove its claim over these areas.
  • After claims and counter-claims, the dispute was narrowed down to 12 sectors on the basis of an official claim by Meghalaya in 2011.

Other boundary disputes in North-East

The states of the Northeast were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states.

During British rule, Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya besides Mizoram, which became separate state one by one. Today, Assam has boundary problems with each of them.

  • Nagaland shares a 500-km boundary with Assam.
  • In two major incidents of violence in 1979 and 1985, at least 100 persons were killed. The boundary dispute is now in the Supreme Court
  • On the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary (over 800 km), clashes were first reported in 1992, according to the same research paper.
  • Since then, there have been several accusations of illegal encroachment from both sides, and intermittent clashes. This boundary issue is being heard by the Supreme Court.
  • The 884-km Assam-Meghalaya boundary, too, witnesses flare-ups frequently. As per Meghalaya government statements, today there are 12 areas of dispute between the two states.

 How did the two governments go about handling the issue?

  • The two States had initially tried resolving the border dispute through negotiations but the first serious attempt was in May 1983 when they formed a joint official committee to address the issue.
  • In its report submitted in November 1983, the committee suggested that the Survey of India should re-delineate the boundary with the cooperation of both the States towards settling the dispute.
  • There was no follow-up action. As more areas began to be disputed, the two States agreed to the constitution of an independent panel in 1985.
  • Headed by Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, the committee submitted its report in 1987.
  • Meghalaya rejected the report as it was allegedly pro-Assam.
  • In 2019, the Meghalaya government petitioned the Supreme Court to direct the Centre to settle the dispute. The petition was dismissed.

How was the ice broken?

  • In January 2021, Home Minister urged all the north-eastern States to resolve their boundary disputes by August 15, 2022, when the country celebrates 75 years of Independence.
  • It was felt that the effort could be fast-tracked since the region’s sister-States either had a common ruling party.
  • In June 2021, the two States decided to resume talks at the CM level and adopt a “give-and-take” policy to settle the disputes once and for all.
  • Of the 12 disputed sectors, six “less complicated” areas — Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata and Ratacherra — were chosen for resolving in the first phase.
  • Both States formed three regional committees, one each for a district affected by the disputed sectors.

What were the principles followed?

  • These committees, each headed by a cabinet minister, were given “five principles” for approaching the issue.
  • These principles are historical facts of a disputed sector, ethnicity, and administrative convenience, willingness of people and contiguity of land preferably with natural boundaries such as rivers, streams and rocks.
  • The committee members conducted surveys of the disputed sectors and held several meetings with the local stakeholders.
  • This paved the way for the March 29 closure of the six disputed sectors.

Issues with this settlement

  • Officials in Assam said it was better to let go of areas where they did not have any administrative control rather than “live with an irritant forever”.
  • However, residents in the other six disputed sectors feel the “give-and-take” template could spell disaster for them.
  • The fear is more among non-tribal people who could end up living in a “tribal Meghalaya with no rights”.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

What is Vibrant Village Programme?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Vibrant Village Programme

Mains level: Critical border infrastructures

The Union government plans to open the villages along the Chinese border for tourists under the Vibrant Village programme announced in the Union Budget 2022-23.

Vibrant Village Programme

  • The program aims to improve infrastructure in villages along India’s border with China.
  • Infrastructure will be improved in states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Under the programme, residential and tourist centres will be constructed.
  • It will also provide for improvement in road connectivity and development of decentralized renewable energy sources.
  • Apart from that, direct access of Doordarshan and education related channels will be provided. Support will be provided for livelihood.

Key focus areas

  • It focuses livelihood generation, road connectivity, housing, rural infrastructure, renewable energy, television and broadband connections.
  • This objective will be met by strengthening infrastructure across villages located near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Why need such scheme?

  • The programme is a counter to China’s model villages but the name has been carefully chosen so as to not cause any consternation in the neighbouring country.
  • China has established new villages along the LAC in the past few years particularly across the Arunachal Pradesh border.
  • While China has been settling new residents in border areas, villages on the Indian side of the frontier have seen unprecedented out-migration.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Kuki Insurgency in Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kuki Tribals

Mains level: Insurgency in the NE

Just before the first of the two phases of the Assembly Elections went underway in Manipur, all insurgent groups associated with the Kuki tribes in Manipur said they will vote for a particular political party.

Who are the Kukis?

  • The Kukis are an ethnic group including multiple tribes originally inhabiting the North-Eastern states of India such as Manipur, Mizoram and Assam; parts of Burma (now Myanmar), and Sylhet district and Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh.
  • While Kuki is not a term coined by the ethnic group itself, the tribes associated with it came to be generically called Kuki under colonial rule.
  • In Manipur, the various Kuki tribes, living mainly in the hills, currently make up 30% of the total 28.5 lakh population of the State.
  • While Churachandpur is their main stronghold, they also have a sizable population in Chandel, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Senapati districts.

Their ethnicity

  • The rest of the population of Manipur is made up mainly of two other ethnic groups — the Meiteis or non-tribal, Vaishnavite Hindus who live in the valley region of Manipur, and the Naga tribes, historically at loggerheads with the Kukis, also living in the hilly areas of the State.
  • Of the 60 seats in the Manipur Assembly, 40 are held by Meiteis and the rest 20 seats are held by Kukis and Nagas.

What led to the Kuki insurgencies in Manipur?

  • The Kuki insurgent groups have been under Suspension of Operation (SoO) since 2005, when they signed an agreement for the same with the Indian Army.
  • Later, in 2008, the groups entered a tripartite agreement with the State government and the UPA led Central government to temporarily suspend their operations and give political dialogue a chance.
  • Manipur, formerly a princely state including parts of Burma, made the accession into India after Independence, but was only made a full-fledged State in 1972.
  • The resentment over the “forceful” inclusion into India and delay in granting statehood led to the rise of various insurgent movements.

Roots of the insurgency

  • The roots of Kuki militancy lie in conflicts of ethnic identity.
  • First was the demand for self-determination solely for groups belonging to their ethnic fabric, meaning the dream to form a Kukiland.
  • The second reason for insurgency lies in the inter-community conflicts between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur.
  • The Kuki-Naga conflict was started over securing identity and land as some Kuki inhabited areas coincided with Naga inhabited areas.
  • Wanting to dominate trade and cultural activities in those areas the two communities often engaged in violent standoffs, with villages being torched, civilians killed and so on.

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

PM’s Development Initiative for North East (PM-DevINE)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: PM-DevINE

Mains level: Infra push for NE region

Union Budget 2022-23 provided for a new scheme, Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East (PM-DevINE) will be implemented through the North-Eastern Council.

PM-DevINE

  • It will fund infrastructure, in the spirit of PM GatiShakti, and social development projects based on felt needs of the northeast.
  • This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women, filling the gaps in various sectors.
  • While the Central Ministries may also pose their candidate projects, priority will be given to those posed by the States.

Some of the projects to be implemented are:

  1. Dedicated Services for the Management of Paediatric and Adult Haemotolymphoid Cancers in North East India, Guwahati
  2. Construction of Aizawl bypass on western side, gap funding for passenger ropeway system for Pelling to Sanga-Choeling in West Sikkim
  3. Gap funding for eco-friendly Ropeway (Cable Car) from Dhapper to Bhaleydhunga in South Sikkim
  4. Pilot project for the construction of Bamboo Link Road at different locations in various districts in Mizoram

 

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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Assam-Meghalaya Border Dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Formation of NE states

Mains level: Boundary issues in India

Union Home Minister is expected to seal the final agreement to end the dispute in six areas of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day celebration on January 21.

Can you recall the chronology of reorganization of the entire North-East region?

Assam- Meghalaya Boundary Dispute

  • Assam has had a boundary dispute with Mizoram for decades and several rounds of talks have been held since 1994-95 to solve the issue.
  • Till 1972, Mizoram was a part of Assam and acquired full statehood in 1987.
  • The 164.6 km-long border between the States runs along with Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts in Assam and Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts in Mizoram.
  • There are several border areas where violence have been reported.

Roots of the dispute

  • In the Northeast’s complex boundary equations, showdowns between Assam and Mizoram residents are less frequent than they are.
  • The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
  • The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
  • Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
  • Mizo leaders have argued in the past argued against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted.

Other boundary disputes in North-East

The states of the Northeast were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states.

During British rule, Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya besides Mizoram, which became separate state one by one. Today, Assam has boundary problems with each of them.

  • Nagaland shares a 500-km boundary with Assam.
  • In two major incidents of violence in 1979 and 1985, at least 100 persons were killed. The boundary dispute is now in the Supreme Court
  • On the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary (over 800 km), clashes were first reported in 1992, according to the same research paper.
  • Since then, there have been several accusations of illegal encroachment from both sides, and intermittent clashes. This boundary issue is being heard by the Supreme Court.
  • The 884-km Assam-Meghalaya boundary, too, witnesses flare-ups frequently. As per Meghalaya government statements, today there are 12 areas of dispute between the two states.

 

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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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North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

AFSPA and the challenges ahead

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- Issues related to use of AFSPA

Context

The death of civilians in Nagaland in a security operation has revived the debate about AFSPA.

Demand for repeal of AFSPA

  • Some years ago, all the northeastern states had come together to demand the annulment of this Act.
  • That remained in the realm of yet another “demand”.
  • In 1997, after Nagaland’s most enduring insurgent outfit, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN), led by Isak Swu and T H Muivah, first decided to talk peace with the Indian government, the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) had approached the Supreme Court for revocation of the Act.
  • Enabling legislation: The apex court had then upheld its constitutionality and said it was an enabling legislation that confers minimum powers on the army to operate in situations of widespread internal disorder.

Way forward

  • Talk to the other groups: Many are wondering if the peace talks between the NSCN (IM) and the government of India now lie in tatters.
  • The media has focussed exclusively on the NSCN (IM) and ignored the other Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), who have been brought on board because they are Nagaland-based and speak exclusively for Nagaland.
  • The NNPGs and the Gaon Bura Association of Nagaland doubt NSCN(IM)’s ability to bring lasting peace in Nagaland.
  • Since 2015, the Nagaland Gaon Bura Association, the apex body of Nagas which includes all the 16 recognised tribes and the NNPGs barring the NSCN (IM), have sent several memorandums to the government.
  • These representatives of the Naga people do not demand a separate flag or constitution because they understand these are tenuous demands.
  • These groups have also never raised the sovereignty issue.
  • The working committee of the seven NNPGs, roped in to join the peace talks, are also opposed to the idea of changing interlocutors as and when the NSCN (IM) decides.
  • Reconsider use of AFSPA: There is a need to reconsider the use of the army and AFSPA when killings have reduced considerably.
  • The apex body has specifically mentioned that they want to be delivered from the gun culture.
  • Check the misuse of FMR: Countering insurgency in the Northeast is fraught also because of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar.

Conclusion

The government need to reconsider the use of AFSPA and also focus on other measures to ensure peace and stability in these regions.

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