North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Naga peace process

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Naga peace process

The article analyses the issue of Naga peace process and the problem of identifying the stakeholders in the process.

Naga Polity and aspirations

  • The  Nagas family comprises over 25 tribes.
  • Each of these is a proud owner and inheritor of a distinct culture, language, tradition and geography, supporting a distinct world view.
  • However, many Nagas aspire to Naga unity, and they view those tribal loyalties as residues of a premodern past and an obstacle to Naga solidarity.
  • Naga nationalism is connected with the idea Naga homeland  that includes contiguous areas in a number of Northeastern states, and even parts of Myanmar.

“Unique history” formulation

  • The source of the phrase can be traced back to a joint communiqué that NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and former Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah signed in Amsterdam on July 11, 2002.
  • Meaning of the phrase “unique history” is not self-explanatory.
  • Despite the lack of clarity, it is adopted by officials and political leaders intended to accept two things-
  • (a) the characterisations long favoured by security bureaucrats of the Naga political struggle as a separatist insurgency or a terrorist movement that makes false claims to Naga unity, are inaccurate and
  • (b) rejecting those labels [ such as separatist insurgency or terrorist movement] is a necessary condition for negotiations based on mutual respect.
  • Those are significant achievements that should not be allowed to wither away.

Negotiating with NSCN-IM and issues with it

  • NSCN-IM had declared the Shillong Accord of 1975 a sellout, and a betrayal of the Naga cause.
  • But it emerged as a serious political force precisely because it stood for Naga unity.
  • However, it is argued that NSCN-IM’s appeal is limited to the Tangkhul tribes of Manipur only.

Consider the question “The issues of identifying the stakeholders in the Naga peace process is at the root of the solution to the peace problem. Also, examine the other factors which make the resolution elusive. Suggest the measures to resolve the issue.”

Conclusion

That a more nuanced negotiating strategy is now emerging is a positive development. But the fundamental question about who all the stakeholders in the Naga conflict are, still needs a satisfactory answer, one that is based on an in-depth mapping of the conflict. Only then can we expect peaceful dialogue and patient negotiations to end the conflict and bring about a durable peace.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sixth Schedule

Mains level : Special provisions for North-east India

The revival of the demand for two autonomous councils has made political parties and community-based groups call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.

Try this question from CSP 2015:

Q.The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to-

(a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes

(b) determine the boundaries between States

(c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats

(d) protect the interests of all the border States

What is the Sixth Schedule?

  • The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, it seeks to safeguard the rights of the tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
  • ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.
  • The governors of these states are empowered to reorganize boundaries of the tribal areas.
  • In simpler terms, she or he can choose to include or exclude any area, increase or decrease the boundaries and unite two or more autonomous districts into one.
  • They can also alter or change the names of autonomous regions without separate legislation.

Autonomous districts and regional councils

  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear the trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
  • In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
  • Each autonomous district and regional council consists of not more than 30 members, of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections. All of them remain in power for a term of five years.

B2BASICS

Try this question from AWE Initiative:

The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is often referred to as a charter for autonomy of a wide magnitude, but it has failed to decrease the tension between different stakeholders at the ground level. Elaborate. (150 W/ 10 M)

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Issues over Delimitation in the Northeast

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Delimitation Commission

Mains level : Delimitation of constituencies

The Election Commission has red-flagged the Union government’s order setting up a Delimitation Commission for Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, calling it “unconstitutional” and “illegal”. When delimitation last took place in the rest of the country in 2002-08, these states had been left out.

Try this question from CSP 2017:

Q.Consider the following statements:

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognized political parties.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 3 only

What is delimitation and why is it needed?

  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats to represent changes in population.
  • In this process, the number of seats allocated to a state may also change.
  • The objective is to provide equal representation for equal population segments and a fair division of geographical areas so that no political party has an advantage.
  • The Delimitation Commission’s orders cannot be questioned before any court.

Legal status

  • Delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission (DC).
  • The Constitution mandates that its orders are final and cannot be questioned before any court as it would hold up an election indefinitely.

How is delimitation carried out?

  • Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a DC made up of a retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Election Commissioner and the respective State Election Commissioners.
  • The Commission is supposed to determine the number and boundaries of constituencies in a way that the population of all seats, so far as practicable, is the same.
  • The Commission is also tasked with identifying seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; these are where their population is relatively large.
  • All this is done on the basis of the latest Census and, in case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.

Northeast’s concerns

  • In the last delimitation exercise, completed in 2008, Arunachal, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland were kept out due to apprehensions overuse of the 2001 Census.
  • The Centre’s move to club the four with J&K comes in the backdrop of unrest in the region over CAA.

Why were these four states left out in 2002-08?

  • In Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, various organisations had moved the Gauhati High Court against the 2002-08 exercise, challenging the use of the 2001 Census for reference.
  • From Assam, an all-party delegation met then Home Minister pleading that delimitation is called off because the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was yet to be updated.
  • The Delimitation Act was amended in 2008, and on February 8, 2008, Presidential orders were issued to defer delimitation in these four states.

So, when did the government decide to resume delimitation?

  • In February this year, President Kovind cleared the decks for the resumption of the delimitation exercise in the four states by cancelling the earlier order.
  • It noted that there had been a reduction in insurgency incidents, making the situation conducive for carrying out delimitation.

Will delimitation change the number of seats in these states?

  • Not in the four Northeast states. There is a freeze until 2026 on the number of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in any state.
  • Delimitation will only redraw the boundaries of seats in each state and can rework the number of reserved seats for SCs and STs.
  • However, because of exceptional past circumstances, Jammu & Kashmir’s Assembly seats will now increase from 107 to 114, which is expected to increase the Jammu region’s representation.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Article 371A and Nagaland

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 370 and 371

Mains level : Naga Peace Accord and its outcomes

In a scathing letter to CM, Nagaland Governor has said the “scenario in the State is grim” and that “law and order has collapsed”.

Practice question for mains:

Q.Discuss the success of Naga Peace Accord in light of the ongoing law and order crisis in the state.

Nagaland (Article 371A, 13th Amendment Act, 1962)

  • Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, the Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law.
  • Parliament also cannot intervene in ownership and transfer of land and its resources, without the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the state.
  • This provision was inserted in the Constitution after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
  • Also, there is a provision for a 35-member Regional Council for Tuensang district, which elects the Tuensang members in the Assembly.
  • A member from the Tuensang district is Minister for Tuensang Affairs. The Governor has the final say on all Tuensang-related matters.

What is the issue?

  • Challenging the legitimacy of the government without any resistance from the State law and order machinery has created a crisis of confidence in the system.
  • The constitutional establishment is being challenged on a day-to-day basis by armed gangs who question the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
  • The instruments of law and order have remained totally unresponsive.

Armed militancy is back again

  • Their armed miscreants appoint their own dealers for every commodity from salt to construction material coming into the State and levy illegal taxes on every item.
  • There is over 200% cost escalation in transportation the moment a goods laden truck enters Nagaland due to gunpoint extortions by the armed miscreants.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Daporijo Bridge and its significance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Daporijo bridge and its location

Mains level : Border disputes with China

A key bridge over the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in record 27 days.

North-East has seen the construction of a series of bridges by BRO in recent times post-Doklam standoff. Make a note of all such bridges and the corresponding rivers over which they are built.

 Daporijo Bridge

  • This Bridge is one of the two over River Subansiri which connect Daporji in North Subansiri dist. with rest of state.
  • This and the other bridge at Tamin sustaining more than 600 villages and troops strength of around 3000 personnel manning the LAC which includes disputed Areas of Asaphila and Maza.
  • All supplies, rations, constructional material and medicines pass over this bridge.
  • The new bridge now can withstand 40 tonnes of weight allowing a safe passage for heavier vehicles catering for the requirements of the Indian Army as well as future infrastructure development requirements.

Significance

  • India has speeded up the construction of critical infrastructure in its northeast in the past half a dozen years including airports, railways and roads with an eye on China that has motorable roads right up to the border.
  • Arunachal Pradesh was the scene of the 1962 India-China border conflict that ended badly for India. China on its parts claims all of the state as “Southern Tibet.”
  • Of the 3488 km long Line of Actual Control with China 1126 lies with Arunachal Pradesh alone.
  • The two countries are yet to demarcate their border with the two sides patrolling the LAC but reporting incursions by the other side since the frontier is not clearly marked.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Explained: Behind Meghalaya violence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Ethnic turmoil in North East

 

 

Last week, ethnic violence left three dead in Meghalaya. The violence underlined the ethnic complexities of Meghalaya, with tensions coming back to the fore following the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Multi-ethnic Meghalaya

  • Meghalaya became a state in 1972 when it was carved out of Assam. Before that, Shillong, now Meghalaya’s capital, used to be the capital of Assam.
  • Sharing a 443-km border with Bangladesh, Meghalaya has seen decades of migration from areas that are now in Bangladesh, as well as from various Indian states via Assam.
  • Besides the indigenous groups, Meghalaya’s residents include Bengalis, Nepalis, Marwaris, Biharis and members of various other communities.
  • Meghalaya is a tribal majority state, and the indigenous Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are entitled to 80% reservation in government jobs.
  • Various groups have continuously expressed concerns that illegal migration from Bangladesh and the growth of “outsiders” from other states would overwhelm the indigenous communities.

Meghalaya violence: The CAA context

  • The CAA relaxes the norms for Hindus from Bangladesh (among six religious groups from three countries) for eligibility to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • Long before that, the legislation was already facing protests in the Northeast, including Meghalaya. Eventually, the Centre decided the CAA will not apply in Sixth Schedule areas.
  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution has special provisions for administration of certain areas in the Northeast, including almost the whole of Meghalaya.
  • Despite the large exemption, the concerns have persisted in Meghalaya, and demands for an Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime have gathered fresh momentum.
  • If the ILP system is introduced, every Indian citizen from any other state would require a time-bound permit to visit Meghalaya.

Signals simmering tensions

  • The last four decades have seen numerous incidents of violence in Meghalaya targeted at non-tribals, including from Bengal and Nepal.
  • The latest bout follows a sustained campaign over the implementation of the Inner Line Permit and unrest in the Northeast over the CAA that led to six deaths in Assam two months ago.
  • The violence last week has an immediate context in the anti-CAA campaign and ILP demand.

Shillong, then and now

  • Shillong has seen violence against “outsiders” several times in the last four decades.
  • The targets were Bengalis in 1979, Nepalis in 1987, and Biharis in 1992.
  • In 2018, Shillong saw clashes between Khasis and Punjab-origin Dalit Sikhs whose ancestors had settled there over 100 years ago.
  • All that began collapsing after Independence, Constitutional institutions set up to safeguard the interest of the tribes came to be popularly perceived as opportunities to convert these tribal areas into exclusive zones of tribal hegemony.
  • The issue of ‘foreigners’ illegally residing in the state of Meghalaya was one of the most important issues which dominated state politics in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • In 1979, the state was plunged into a crisis for the first time since it was created.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Still no finality, the third time round

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- Bodo peace accord, issues involved.

Context

There are indications that the new Bodo accord does not spell closure of the statehood movement by Bodo groups.

Power-sharing experiment under the Sixth Schedule

  • Sixth Schedule expected as a panacea: The experiment of power-sharing and governance under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution was expected to be the panacea of the ethno-nationalist identity questions in the Northeastern States.
  • Complexities of exclusion: Euphoria, as well as anger over the third Bodo Accord, have, however, held the mirror reflecting the complexities of exclusion of communities in such ethnocentric power-sharing and governance model.

Specifics of the new Accord

  • The new Accord was signed by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), United Bodo People’s Organisation and all the four factions of the insurgent outfit- National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) with Delhi and Dispur on January 27.
    • It promises more legislative, executive and administrative autonomy under the Sixth Schedule to Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and expansion of the BTC territory in lieu of statehood.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD), the autonomous region governed by BTC, will be known as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) after demarcation of the augmented territory.

The emergence of the faultlines in the new Accord

  • What went wrong in the previous Accord? The previous Bodo Accord signed by the erstwhile insurgent outfit, Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) with Delhi and Dispur on February 10, 2003, led to the creation of the BTC as a new experiment of territorial autonomy under the Sixth Schedule.
    • No assent by the Governor to any BTC legislation: The constitutionally mandated legislative power of the BTC has been reduced to a farce as the Assam Governor has not given assent to any of the legislation passed by the BTC Legislative Assembly.
  • Intensification of demand for Kamatapur State: Bodo groups have suspended their statehood movement.
    • The new Bodo Accord has triggered the intensification of the movement for Kamatapur State by organisations of the Koch-Rajbongshi community.
    • Overlapping territory: The territory of the demanded Kamatapur State overlaps with the present BTAD, proposed BTR and demanded Bodoland.
  • Demand for ST status: Clamour for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Koch-Rajbongshis, Adivasis and several other non-ST communities has also grown.
  • Faultlines over ST status: Deeper ethnic faultlines in an ethnocentric power-sharing model will become exposed when the Koch-Rajbongshis and the Adivasis are granted ST status, as promised by the government.
    • For, the reservation of seats of BTC is for the STs and not exclusively for the Bodos.
    • The new accord has no clear answer to such critical questions.
    • In BTAD, the ST communities account for 33.50% of the total population and the Bodos account for over 90% of the ST population in the BTAD.
    • The ST populations are an overwhelming majority in territories overseen by nine other autonomous councils under the Sixth Schedule in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • Minority governing majority: Such a demographic composition in the BTAD has allowed the space for political mobilisation of other non-Bodo communities.
    • It also allowed the articulation of the campaign that the BTC is a faulty model as it allows the minorities to govern the majorities.
    • Exclusion demand: The organisations of these communities have been demanding exclusion of villages with less than 50% Bodo population from the BTAD.
  • Counter argument by Bodos: Bodo organisations have a counter-argument that non-Bodo is a political identity construction articulated to capture power in the BTAD by certain political forces.
  • The new accord promises to increase the current strength of BTC to 60 from 40 but “without adversely affecting the existing percentage of reservation for tribal[s]”.
  • Constitutional provision for dealing with such situations: Sub-paragraph 2 of the first paragraph of the Sixth Schedule provides that, “If there are different Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district, the Governor may, by public notification, divide the area or areas inhabited by them into autonomous regions.”
    • However, constitutional amendments were made following the previous Bodo Accord to ensure that this provision shall not apply in respect of the BTAD.
  • What could be the solution to the present situation? The provision of setting up regional autonomous councils under the Sixth Schedule can be explored to create the space for communities aggrieved by exclusion from the power-sharing model of BTC.

Provision of commission

  • The new accord promises to appoint a commission by the Assam government.
    • What the commission will deal with? It will look into the demands for inclusion of villages with ST majority and contiguous to the BTAD, and exclusion of villages which are contiguous to non-Sixth Schedule areas and have majority non-ST population.
    • However, the core area of the BTAD will continue to have many villages with majority non-ST population which were included for contiguity.

Evaporating of euphoria over the accord

  • Failure in uniting the four factions: Euphoria among the Bodos over the accord is also fast evaporating with efforts to unite all the four factions of NDFB having turned futile.
    • The factions are divided into two camps.
    • The new accord will be the pivot of political mobilisation in the BTAD during the forthcoming BTC elections due in April.
  • Revival in homeland demand: A shift in the political equilibrium in the BTC resulting from a likely expansion of the ST list in Assam has the potential to keep the Bodos out of power in the BTC and push Bodo organisations to revive their homeland demand

Conclusion

Peace will continue to be fragile in Assam’s Bodo heartland until an all-inclusive power-sharing and governance model is evolved under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule.

 

 

 

 

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Explained: Assam-Mizoram Boundary Dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Assam as the centre-stage of disputes

 

Assam is at the centre of a fresh inter-State border row in the northeastern region. The Mizoram government has sought the revision of the boundary with Assam, based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873 and the Inner Line of the Lushai Hills Notification of 1993.

Background

  • Since 1962 most of the state borders of states carved out of Assam were divided following the myopic vision of the Central government.
  • On ground these borders still do not run in sync with the tribal territories and identities, creating repetitive conflicts in the region and disturbing its peace.
  • Assam finds itself at the center of all the conflicts since most of the neighboring states were carved out of its territory since independence.
  • This was done to consolidate the Indian Union at the time by catering to the aspirations of the local tribes and including them in the mainstream by giving them independent statehoods.

What is the dispute?

  • Mizoram shares a 123-km border with southern Assam and has been claiming a 509-square mile stretch “occupied” by the neighbouring State.
  • Mizoram used to be the Lushai Hills district of Assam before being made a Union Territory in 1972 and a State in 1987.
  • Both States have been disputing an extensive stretch of this boundary.

About Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation

  • The Inner Line Regulations, commonly referred to as the Inner Line Permit system (ILP), first gained legal effect through the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
  • At present the BEFR continues to apply, but only in present-day Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
  • It had been lifted in the whole of Assam, as well as the entirety of present-day Meghalaya.
  • The BEFR allows Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland not to let non-resident Indians in without an inner-line permit for a temporary stay.

Present status of ILP

  • The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958 is the modern embodiment of the ILP.
  • This Order was passed in furtherance of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
  • The Order defined the ‘inner line’ throughout present-day India starting from Jammu and Kashmir and ending at Mizoram.
  • This inner line is different from the one envisioned in the Bengal Frontier Regulations.
  • This line represents the furthest point up to the international border where a foreigner can visit on the strength of a visa alone.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Optimal delivery or mere optics in Bodo peace deal?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- 6th Schedule, Demand for separate states in North-East.

Context

It is to be seen if the pact will lead to true autonomy, true peace, and true development.

What the pact involved?

  • Which groups signed the deal?
    • Four factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), along with an influential Bodo students’ organization and a Bodo civilian pressure group, signed the peace agreement with the central and Assam governments.
  • What are the major concessions given?
    • The Bodoland Territorial Area Districts, the name given to Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri, the four contiguous districts bordering Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, will now be known as Bodoland Territorial Region.
    • Acknowledgement of Bodo homeland: The changed nuance from districts to the region is significant as it acknowledges a Bodo homeland within the state of Assam, without separating from Assam.
    • Why this acknowledgement matters: This is dialled down from earlier rebel demands for a breakaway state and later suggestions for Union territory status.
  • What is the significance of the change from district to the region?
    • Satisfying identity aspiration: The renaming is designed to satisfy the identity and aspirations of the Bodo people.
    • Not ceding territory solved tricky matter: Renaming also solved the politically tricky matter of ceding territory for the government of Assam.
    • Ceding territory would also have fuelled similar demands from the other parts of the state like- Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao and Cachar, which also have homelands of non-Ahom ethnicities.
    • Avoiding similar demand from other states: Indeed, it could have affected the ongoing Naga peace process, leading Naga rebels to demand territorial and administrative autonomy in Naga homelands in Manipur.

Scope of the success of the pact

  • Inherent vulnerability: There is already an inherent vulnerability to the Bodo peace deal even without the overhang of ceding territory.
    • This is rooted in the birth of the Bodo rebellion, which began in the 1980s on account of administrative and development apathy of the state of Assam.
  • Feeling of subsuming in Bodo: A feeling that Bodo, the people, the language, the identity, was subsumed by the Assamese and migrants.
  • The relation between NDFB and the Front: The Bodoland People’s Front, is in majority in the District council. Will the front be comfortable with newly peaceable colleagues of NDFB?

Conclusion

The Government of Assam needs to ensure that the pact signed changes the situation on the ground and leads to a development on the ground. The state also needs to allay the fears in the Bengali-speaking minority. Moreover, true autonomy, true peace, and true development are always worth more than the paper on which they are promised.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Comprehensive Bodo Settlement Agreement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Bodoland statehood issue

 

  • The MHA, the Assam government and the Bodo groups have signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam, currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
  • Several Bodo groups led have been demanding a separate land for the ethnic community since 1972, a movement that has claimed nearly 4,000 lives.

Background

  • The first Bodo accord was signed with the ABSU in 1993, leading to the creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council with limited political powers.
  • The BTC was created in 2003 with some more financial and other powers.
  • The BTAD and other areas mentioned under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Highlights of the Agreement

  • As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
  • Bodos living in the hills would be conferred a Scheduled Hill Tribe status.
  • The BTAD is to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

Rehabilitation and relief

  • The criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
  • A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.

A separate Commission

  • It proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas.
  • In this commission, besides State government, there will be representatives from ABSU and BTC. It will submit its recommendation within six months.

Changes in Legislature

  • The total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
  • The present settlement has a proposal to give more legislative, executive, administrative and financial powers to BTC.

Bodo as an official language

  • The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools.
  • Bodo with Devnagri script would be the associate official language for the entire Assam.

Significance of the agreement

  • The signing of the agreement would “end the 50-year-old Bodo crisis.”
  • Around 1500 cadres of BODO militant factions will be rehabilitated by Centre and Assam Government.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Naga peace plan lost in haze of optics, obstinacy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2-Federal system.

Context

The government-imposed deadline of October 31 for concluding talks with Naga groups has passed. And nothing concrete has come out of the Framework Agreement signed in 2015.

Events so far

  • Framework Agreement with Naga rebel leader Thuingaleng Muivah was signed in 2015.
    • The agreement expresses an intent to work towards the final agreement.
    • The progress on the said agreement has stalled since then.
  • Problem with the Framework Agreement: It was signed only with Muivah’s leading faction, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN (I-M).
    • Exclusion of major players: The agreement excluded half a dozen more groups, besides Naga citizenry in Nagaland and contiguous Naga homelands in the neighbouring states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam.
    • This weakened the process.

Efforts made by the government

  • Appointment of an interlocutor: The government-appointed R.N. Ravi as the government’s interlocutor. That move signalled the seriousness from the government’s side.
  • Reach out toward the other players: The government reached out to Nagas across the board.
  • The government reached out to other rebel factions, much to the irritation of NSCN (I-M), and began peace talks with them in end-2017.
  • A breakaway faction of I-M’s arch enemies, NSCN’s Khaplang, joined the process in 2019.
  • Government-led outreach attempted to bring on board non-Naga people in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam.

What is offered in the process and related issues

  • Disarmament, rehabilitation, and assimilation: A talks with I-M spelt out disarmament, rehabilitation, and assimilation of cadres and leaders through induction in paramilitary forces and political structures
  • Expanded legislature: An expanded legislature in Nagaland, for inducting the rebels and more legislative representation and relative autonomy in Naga homelands outside Nagaland.
  • Disagreement over flang and the separate state-constitution: Other Naga rebel groups agreed to what was offered by the government.
  • I-M remained intransigent over the dual use of a Naga flag alongside the Indian flag, and its constitution—
  • This I-M-scripted constitution is regressive, offers far less than what Nagas enjoy under Indian constitutional provisions, and effectively proposes Muivah as the overarching figure of Naga politics, development and destiny.
  • Unacceptance by the other groups: This is evidently unacceptable to numerous Nagas—let alone non-Nagas—for whom Muivah, a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur’s Ukhrul region, remains a divisive figure.

Conclusion

There is a need to reconcile the difference between the different groups and reach a proposed agreement as soon as possible for the welfare of the communities and the region as a whole.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Meghalaya ordinance on non-state residents

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ILP, NRC, CAA

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Meghalaya Cabinet by an Ordinance approved the amendments to The Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016.

What is the Ordinance about?

  • The existing 2016 Act deals with registration and documentation of non-state residents living in Meghalaya.
  • The Ordinance seeks to extend similar rules to cover all non-state residents visiting or living in the state.
  • This Act is indicative only for those people who are interested in visiting Meghalaya as tourists, labourers or for education and business.
  • With the Act in place, they will need to comply with guidelines to be prepared in the form of rules.

The point of the amendment

  • It came in the backdrop of the NRC process in Assam, which led to concerns among civil society and political leaders that people excluded from the Assam NRC might try to enter Meghalaya.
  • Besides, political parties and activists in Meghalaya had long been demanding replication of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, which has now been extended to Manipur.
  • While the ILP-regime states are exempt from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), practically the whole of Meghalaya is exempt by virtue of special protections under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The Ordinance itself was not a fallout of the citizenship legislation, but a precautionary measure in view of the Assam NRC.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Loktak Inland Waterways Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Loktak Lake

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Shipping gave approval for the development of Loktak Inland Water ways improvement project in Manipur under the central sector scheme.

About Loktak Lake

  • It is the largest fresh water lake in North east located at Moirang in Manipur.
  • This lake is known for its circular floating swamps (called phumdis in the local language)
  • The term phumdis refers to a collection of heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition
  • Sangai is the state animal of Manipur. Its hooves are adapted to walk on the phumdis
  • The lake is now endangered, with innumerable threats like pollution, decline in diversity of avifauna and thinning of phumdis
  • The team will enumerate the steps required to be initiated for declaring Loktak Lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Explained: The Bodoland dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bodoland

Mains level : About the dispute


The central government has extended the ban on the Assam-based insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) by five more years for its involvement in a series of violent anti-state activities.

The Bodoland

  • Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
  • The four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang — that constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD), are home to several ethnic groups.

What is the dispute?

  • The Bodos have had a long history of separatist demands, marked by armed struggle.
  • In 1966-67, the demand for a separate state called Bodoland was raised under the banner of the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA), a political outfit.
  • In 1987, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) renewed the demand. “Divide Assam fifty-fifty”, was a call given by the ABSU’s then leader, Upendra Nath Brahma.
  • The unrest was a fallout of the Assam Movement (1979-85), whose culmination — the Assam Accord — addressed the demands of protection and safeguards for the “Assamese people”, leading the Bodos to launch a movement to protect their own identity.
  • In December 2014, separatists killed more than 30 people in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur. In the 2012 Bodo-Muslim riots, hundreds were killed and almost 5 lakh were displaced.

Who are the NDFB?

  • Alongside political movements, armed groups have also sought to create a separate Bodo state.
  • In October 1986, the prominent group Bodo Security Force (BdSF) was formed by Ranjan Daimary.
  • The BdSF subsequently renamed itself as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), an organisation that is known to be involved in attacks, killings, and extortions.
  • In the 1990s, Indian security forces launched extensive operations against the group, causing the latter to flee to bordering Bhutan.
  • In Bhutan, the group faced stiff counter-insurgency operations by the Indian Army and the Royal Bhutan Army in the early 2000s.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Senseless

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NRC

Mains level : NRC across India

Context

The proposal for a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) is worrisome on several counts. The government would also re-introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that envisages the grant of Indian citizenship to all refugees from minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Drawbacks of the idea

    • Experience – the inability to learn from the experience of carrying out the humongous exercise in Assam. 
    • CAB – religion – the Bill denies a benefit to Muslim minorities from other neighboring countries, including Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims face persecution. 
    • Assam again – Home Minister announced that the NRC process would be conducted in Assam again with the rest of the country. 
    • Assam hanging – There is still no clarity on what the 19 lakh plus people outside the NRC could do. They are potentially stateless and at risk of “deportation”.
    • Bangladesh – Bangladesh refuses to acknowledge them.

NRC for the whole country

    • If there is a lesson from Assam, it is that there is no right way of going through a process such as the NRC.
    • Fear for minorities – there are genuine fears that a nationwide NRC will target Muslims. 
    • Administrative details – of how such an exercise will be carried out are not yet known.
    • Cutoff date – In the case of Assam, there was a cut-off date after which all foreigners as per the Assam Accord were to be expelled. The Centre may come out with a cut-off for the nationwide NRC.

Conclusion

Given the dangers that lurk within such exercises, the government could abandon the nationwide NRC-CAB combination. Indians can certainly be spared this pain.


Back2Basics

[Burning Issue] Assam NRC

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Changing the status quo

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Merger of Assam Rifles and ITBP

Context

The Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed that Assam Rifles should be merged with ITBP and serve under the operational control of the MHA. The Army is opposed to this proposal.

Assam Rifles

  • It is a central paramilitary force.
  • It is under the administrative control of the MHA and operational control of the Army, i.e. the Ministry of Defence. 

History of Assam Rifles

Formation

  • It is formed as Cachar Levy in 1835 to assist the British rulers in maintaining peace in the Northeast.
  • It had just about 750 men but proved its capability and efficiency.

Evolution

  • The unit was converted into the Assam Military Police Battalion with two additional battalions in 1870. They were known as the Lushai Hills Battalion, Lakhimpur Battalion, and Naga Hills Battalion. 
  • Just before World War I, another battalion, the Darrang Battalion, was added. 
  • They all rendered great service by assisting the British in Europe and West Asia during the war. 
  • These battalions were then renamed Assam Rifles. 
  • They were regular armed police battalions, with the ‘Rifles’ tag. It was a matter of honor for their competence.

Post 1962 war

  • After the Chinese aggression in 1962 in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam Rifles battalions were placed under the operational control of the Army. 
  • Assam Rifles personnel who were acclimatised to the region were better suited for operations then. 
  • One of the major causes of India’s defeat was that the regular Army units were not used to extreme weather. 

Situation changed now

  • All Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) are acclimatised to almost every region of the country due to country-wide deployment of all CAPF battalions. 
  • The operational role performed by the ITBP at 18,700 feet in Ladakh is a testimony to its capability to guard the border in any part of the country. 
  • Back in 2001, the Group of Ministers had stated that the principle of ‘One Border, One Force’ should be strictly adhered to. 
  • If ITBP can guard the India-China border in Ladakh, it can also guard the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh and beyond.
  • Having two masters for an organisation — one for administrative control and another for operational control — is absurd and leads to problems of coordination.
  • Home Ministry’s move to merge all its 55,000-strong Assam Rifles with the ITBP is a step in the right direction.

Opposed to the move

  • The Army argues that the Assam Rifles should be merged with it, to ensure national security. 
  • The army would lose its promotional avenues once this paramilitary force is merged with the ITBP, as it would be directly under the control of the Home Ministry. 
  • At present, nearly 80% of officers’ ranks from Major upwards are held by Army officers on deputation. A Lieutenant-General of the Army holds the post of Director General of Assam Rifles. 
  • For the time being, the Chief may be appointed from among IPS officers. CAPF was brought under the fold of Organised Group ‘A’ Service this year. The direct officers of Assam Rifles will eventually take up the top posts.

Conclusion

The merger issue needs to be taken up on priority by the CCS so that doubts are cleared. The mode of absorbing the officers should be worked out to avoid a vacuum being created once the deputationists are repatriated to the Army.


Back2Basics.

India Internal Security | Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Dimapur deadlock

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Naga peace process

Context

The ceasefire in Nagaland continues to hold. Centre had set October 31 as the deadline to conclude a peace deal with the NSCN-IM. It has passed and there is no clarity yet on an accord. 

The talks

  • The talks between the Centre and Naga rebels, primarily the NSCN-IM, have been held for 22 years.
  • The Naga civil society has participated in the peace process and prepared the ground for a negotiated settlement to the insurgency.

Reasons for the deadlock

  • Reports suggest that the deadlock is over the rebels’ demand for a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland. 
  • They hint at the concept of “shared sovereignty”. NSCN-IM leadership has talked about it soon after it signed the Indo-Naga Framework Agreement in 2015.
  • The details of that agreement have not been revealed, but the leeway for such innovations may have reduced after the Centre’s actions in J&K. 
  • The government has ended the special status and has its own flag, accorded to J&K.
  • Naga rebels have climbed down from their demand for full independence. But they persisted with the demand for Nagalim.
  • Nagalim is a territorial entity much larger than the present state of Nagaland and includes Naga inhabited areas that fall in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This can trigger unrest in Nagaland’s neighbourhood. 
  • Non-Naga populations in the region have warned of action if any attempt is made to redraw the existing state boundaries.

Way ahead

  • The rebels need to respect the sentiment for peace.
  • The Centre must provide the negotiating space for the civil society to satisfy its constituency.
  • The rebels will have to re-imagine the idea of a Naga nation and de-link it from the territory. 
  • The Centre should respect the sentiments of political groups founded on notions of ethnic exclusivity and desist from imposing unitarian notions of nationhood.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Registration mandatory for non-resident visitors to Meghalaya

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA)

Mains level : Citizenship issues in NE India


  • In a bid to protect the interest of tribal citizens, the Meghalaya cabinet approved the amendment to an act that seeks mandatory registration of outsiders for entering the State.

Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA)

  • The State cabinet approved the amended Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security Act, 2016.
  • Any person who is not a resident of Meghalaya and intend to stay more than 24 hours in the State will have to furnish document to the government.
  • Employees of the Centre, State and District Councils are exempted from the purview of the Act.
  • Any person, who willfully fails to furnish the information or provide false document will be liable to be punished under various sections of the IPC.
  • The original act was passed as part of comprehensive mechanisms to check illegal immigration, instead of the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

Why such a move?

  • There was an increasing demand to enhance vigil against influx of non-indigenous people in the hill state, following the implementation of the NRC in Assam.
  • The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam, was released in August this year.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

History of Naga flag and its relevance now

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Naga flag

Mains level : Naga peace process


Context

  • The deadline for a final Naga peace accord passed on amid assertions from both sides that peace talks would continue.
  • Among the issues that have been contentious is the demand for a separate Naga constitution and use of the Naga flag, for decades a symbol of Naga nationalism.

The Nagas & the Indian Union

  • 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.
  • Ahead of Independence, a nine-point agreement was signed between the Government of India and the Naga National Council.
  • This included an experimental coexistence with India for a period of 10 years to be reviewed at the end of that period.
  • While the Nagas saw this provision as temporary, with a right to self-determination after 10 years, Naga historians say the Indian government has interpreted the “trial period’’ as accession to the Indian Union.

Independence celebration

  • The tallest leader of the Naga struggle, Dr A Z Phizo, met M K Gandhi in Delhi on July 19, 1947.
  • According to Naga historians, Gandhi agreed that the Nagas would celebrate their independence a day ahead of India, on August 14, 1947.
  • To this day, Nagas across Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh celebrate August 14 as Independence Day.

The 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.
  • As Naga groups battled the Indian armed forces, the legend goes, Phizo and his closest colleagues had a vision — a rainbow, in a startlingly blue sky that had appeared after a storm.
  • A woman of the Rengma tribe, one of the tribes under the Naga umbrella, was commissioned to weave the flag.
  • It was hoisted for the first time in Parashen in Rengma on March 22, 1956.
  • The flag has a blue background, representing the sky. A red, yellow and green rainbow arches across the centre.
  • The Star of Bethlehem adorns the top left corner of the flag; Nagas are predominantly Christian.

Where it stands today?

  • The flag remains a symbol of the Nagas’ struggle for over 60 years, of their religious faith, of the aspirations of the Naga people, and of their identity.
  • It helps bind all the different Naga tribes together.
  • Outside Nagaland state, in particular, the flag continues to elucidate strong emotions of identity from Nagas.
  • Inside the state, common citizens are today divided on it. Certain sections believe that with secession from the Indian Union no longer possible, the Naga flag has lost some of its relevance.

What are the secessionist tendencies today?

  • The moderates have supported a complete inclusion in the Indian state, for access to the latter’s development project, infrastructure, and its education and health facilities.
  • But a large section of the Nagas still holds dear the idea of the Naga identity and of their tribal roots.

Conclusion

  • 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.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] After Assam NRC, troubles may visit ‘sister’ Tripura

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Impact of NRC on Tripura

Context

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) can negatively impact the politics and ethnic unrest alike in North-east India.

Problems with the exercise

  • Assam released a list which could make 1.9 million people stateless. A large number are Hindus. This is proving to be tricky for the government.

  • Both BJP and RSS stands on the proposal to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, would allow non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan the opportunity for naturalization by reducing residency requirements.

Tripura – a background

  • In Tripura, the matter has received focus in an unexpected manner. The largely Bengali population of Tripura, more Hindu than Muslim, are essentially not from Tripura.

  • While many are settlers for a generation or more, some are more recent arrivals.

  • Tripura was not long ago a kingdom. The Manikya kings ruled in a nearly unbroken line from the 15th century.

  • The current titular king, Pradyot, identifies himself as Tiprasa, as the province’s indigenous collective of peoples call themselves.

  • Tiprasa as an identity is more inclusive than Borok because it includes people beyond the Tripuri tribes who have immigrated over the past several centuries.

  • It’s an important nuance because this identity is distinct from Tripura’s overwhelming Bengali identity.

  • In 1949, the queen regent, Kanchan Prava Devi, Pradyot’s grandmother, signed a treaty of accession to India.

  • It stopped being Twipra, the land by the water, jettisoned the British-colonial Hill Tipperah, and emerged fully as the Sanskritized Tripura.

  • Tripura went from being majority indigenous Borok people – Tripuri, Reang, Noatia, Halam and some Meitei (Manipuri) to being majority Bengali.

  • Between 1941 and 1951 the percentage of tribal folk in Tripura dropped from a little over 53% to a little over 37%. By 1981, it had dropped below 30%. The census of 2011 showed the tribal population hovering above 30%.

The arrival of Bengalis

  • Bengalis arrived as refugees from East Pakistan as a result of communal violence years after 1946 and 1947, and wars with India, in waves of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and sometimes, hundreds of thousands.

  • In 1952, close to a quarter of a million refugees poured in.

  • Pakistan’s conflict with India over 1964–1965 drew more than a hundred thousand. Pakistan’s actions in Bangladesh in 1971 opened the floodgates. Tripura’s population of about 1.5 million at the time—already majority Bengali—swelled by a third.

  • Dainik Sangbad, a daily newspaper in Agartala, in mid-1971, estimated refugees at nearly 1.3 million. Nearly all were Bengalis.

  • Tripura took them all in, during what is called the Regency Period, when Kanchan Prava Devi ran affairs on behalf of her minor son from 1947 to Tripura’s formal accession to India in 1949.

Conclusion

The ethnic churn of Tripura’s past and present is evident now. The BJP’s ally in Tripura, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), has also demanded NRC. Pandora’s box is wide open.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Assam: from the state of influx to a state of flux

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : NRC ; a case study from Cachar area

CONTEXT

It’s been less than a week after the final list was released on 31 August. Uncertainty prevails over the process that could take nearly two million people stateless.

Problems

  • Though people can appeal within 120 days, a majority aren’t well-off and many live in areas away from NRC tribunals. 
  • Vast numbers of non-Muslim people out of the NRC net. Govt tried to give non-Muslim immigrants the opportunity for naturalization by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 by reducing the residency requirements for persons belonging to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan from 11 years to 6 years.
  • NRC and the Citizenship Bill proved a contradictory and volatile mix. NRC sought to address long-time local feelings against ‘outsiders’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ while the Citizenship Bill seemed to be a way to legitimize such migration.
  • The complexity of the issue can be understood from the Cachar area where matters of religion, language and ethnicity are incendiary.

Cachar area

  • This area wasn’t even part of Assam not too long ago. 
  • The East India Company extended its conquest of Assam in 1826 with that of Cachar six years later and merged them with the Bengal Presidency. 
  • After the administrative reorganization in the wake of the 1857 mutiny, the largely Bengali-speaking districts of Sylhet, Cachar, and Goalpara (or) Lower Assam—were merged into the new Chief Commissioner’s Province of Assam. 
  • It administratively cut off Bengali speakers from Bengal, besides isolating the Sylheti people.
  • With partition in 1947, much of Muslim-majority Sylhet went over to newly born Pakistan after a referendum except for the eastern extremity of Sylhet. 
  • The anti-Bengali violence in Assam in the 1960s following the pro-Bengali language movement in Cachar, sharpened divides. 
  • Bursts of migration from East Pakistan and later heightened pressures as well as expectations.
  • Many non-Muslim Bengalis out of the final NRC register in the Cachar area do not have the Citizenship Bill sought to provide.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Explained: Sikkim, from Chogyal rule to Indian state

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Sikkims's accession to India


Context

  • Last week in Sikkim, 10 MLAs from the Opposition SDF defected to the BJP, adding to the political uncertainty that has loomed over since Assembly elections this year delivered a fractured mandate.
  • The current instability follows a unique event: the voting out of a government in power for the first time in Sikkim’s history.
  • Since joining India in 1975, Sikkim has seen its government changed only twice — in both cases, the government had fallen before the new one was voted in.

Departure from Monarchy

  • Before 1975, Sikkim was ruled by the Chogyal rulers, and democratic rights were limited.
  • Analysts have described the current events as a departure from what has been called a “monarchic psychology”.
  • The overall trajectory has been seen as being geared towards strengthening democracy.

Sikkim under the Chogyal rulers

  • For 333 years before 1975, Sikkim was ruled by the Chogyals (or kings) of the Namgyal dynasty of Tibetan descent.
  • According to one account, the first ruler, Penchu Namgyal, was installed as king by Tibetan lamas in 1642.
  • At its zenith, the Sikkim kingdom included the Chumbi valley and Darjeeling. The former is part of China now.
  • After 1706, there were a series of conflicts between the powers of the region, which included Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, resulting in a shrinking of Sikkim’s territorial boundaries.

Contact with British India

  • In 1814, Sikkim allied with the East India Company in the latter’s campaign against Nepal.
  • After the Company won, it restored to Sikkim some of the territories that Nepal had wrested from it in 1780.
  • In 1841, the Company purchased Darjeeling from the Namgyal rulers.
  • A treaty in 1861 made Sikkim a de facto protectorate of British India.
  • Subsequently, the Calcutta Convention of 1890 demarcated the border between Sikkim and Tibet, and was signed by Viceroy Lord Lansdowne and Qing China’s Imperial Associate Resident in Tibet.
  • The Lhasa Convention of 1904 affirmed the Calcutta Convention.

Sikkim becomes a Protectorate

  • After India became independent in 1947, the relationship between New Delhi and Gangtok had to be redefined.
  • In 1950, a treaty was signed between Maharaja Tashi Namgyal and India’s then Political Officer in Sikkim Harishwar Dayal.
  • The relationship between India and Sikkim was encapsulated in the clause: “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.”

Continued struggle in Sikkim

  • In the following decades, gaping income inequality and feudal control over key resources led to popular discontent against the Chogyal rulers.
  • In December 1947, diverse political groupings came together to form the Sikkim State Congress.
  • In 1949, the Chogyal agreed to appoint a five-member Council of Ministers, with three Congress nominees, and two of his own.
  • In 1953, the Chogyal introduced a new Constitution, and four general elections were held based on separate electorates in 1957, 1960, 1967, and 1970.
  • Plagued by distrust between the Chogyal and the Congress, none of these elections helped further democracy.

India comes in

  • Matters came to a head in 1973, when the royal palace was besieged by thousands of protesters.
  • The Chogyal was left with no choice but to ask India to send troops for his 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.

From protectorate to full state

  • In 1974, elections were held, in which the Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji emerged victorious over pro-independence parties.
  • In the same year, a new constitution was adopted, which restricted the role of the Chogyal to a titular post.
  • The Chogyal resented this, and refused to deliver the customary address to the elected Assembly.
  • 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.
  • The Chogyal was unhappy with this move, and sought to internationalize the issue. This did not go down well with Sikkim’s elected leaders, and a referendum was held in 1975.
  • A total 59,637 voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and joining India, with only 1,496 voting against.
  • Subsequently, India’s Parliament approved an amendment to make Sikkim a full state.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] ‘Shillong Declaration’ on e-Governance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shillong Declaration

Mains level : Key highlights of the declaration

About the Shillong Declaration

  • The ‘Shillong Declaration’ on e-Governance was recently adopted.
  • The declaration has outlined the future trajectory that would be taken in terms of e-governance with a focus on improving connectivity in Northeast.

The Conference resolved that Government of India and State Governments shall collaborate to:

  1. The central government and state governments would collaborate to improve the citizens’ experience with government services.
  2. In order to do so, they would promote the timely implementation of India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA).
  3. They would also implement a single sign-on for interoperability and integration among e-Government applications throughout the country.
  4. It also resolved to consolidate the plethora of successful state-level e-Governance projects and domain-based projects with a focus to replicate them as common application software with configurable features.
  5. The declaration also stressed the need to ensure improvement in ease of living and ease of doing business by making a big shift in the role of government from Service Provider to Service Enabler.
  6. It also stressed on the need to take steps to further improve connectivity in the Northeast.
  7. Issues and challenges of telecommunication connectivity at the grassroots and formulate and implement a comprehensive telecom development plan were also addressed in the declaration.
  8. It was also resolved to improve the quality of delivery of e-Services in the Northeast to fulfil the vision of improved citizen experience.
  9. It was also resolved to develop India as a global cloud hub and facilitate the development of Government applications and databases on Cloud by default.
  10. To adopt emerging technologies for finding e-Governance solutions and to promote the Digital India Projects with focus on Smart Cities and Smart Villages through Startups and Smart Entrepreneurship were also resolved in the declaration.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Government introduces Bill on northeast

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fifth and Sixth Schedules

Mains level: Development of Tribal Areas


News

  • The government has introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the NE region.
  • The Bill is introduced in the wake of protests in the region following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.

The Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019: Key Proposals

  1. The Finance Commission will be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to them.
  2. The Autonomous Councils now depend on grants from Central ministries and the State government for specific projects.
  3. The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grassroot level.
  4. The village councils will be empowered to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including those related to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.
  5. At least one-third of the seats will be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura after the amendment is approved.
  6. The amendment will impact one crore tribal people in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Why in Raja Sabha?

  1. A call was taken to introduce in the Rajya Sabha so that the legislation remains alive even after the House has adjourned sine die.
  2. Introducing it in the Lok Sabha would have meant that the Bill’s life is co-terminus with that of the term of the Lok Sabha.
  3. The fate of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 is uncertain as it was passed by the Lok Sabha but has to be passed by the Rajya Sabha in the current session to become a law.

Back2Basics

Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

https://www.civilsdaily.com/question/the-sixth-schedule-of-the-constitution-is-often-referred-to-as-a-charter-for-autonomy-of-a-wide-magnitude-but-it-has-failed-to-decrease-the-tension-between-different-stakeholders-at-the-ground-level/

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Sela Pass Tunnel Project

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: About the project

Mains Level: Infrastructure project in the north-east


News

  • In a key move aimed at improving all weather connectivity and enabling the swift movement of Indian troops to Arunachal Pradesh bordering China, PM laid the foundation stone for the Sela Tunnel Project.

Sela Pass Tunnel Project

  1. The tunnel covers a total distance of 12.04 kms which consist of two tunnels of 1790 metres and 475 meters.
  2. It is being built at an estimated cost of ₹687 crores by the Border Roads Organisation.
  3. It aims to provide all weather connectivity to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh — an area claimed entirely by China — and other forward areas.
  4. Once built it will cut travel time to Tawang by at least an hour for Indian troops stationed in adjoining Assam’s Tezpur town — the headquarters of the Indian army’s IV Corps.

Strategic Importance

  1. The lack of motorable roads and rail connections in India’s northeast and Arunachal Pradesh in particular were seen as distinct disadvantages for India vis a vis China in the region.
  2. Analysts had been warning of China building infrastructure including access roads right up to the Indian border that would give it a strategic advantage in any conflict with India.
  3. Once completed this would result in all weather connectivity to Tawang and forward areas and reduction in more than one hour of travelling time from Tezpur to Tawang.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Cabinet decides to strengthen Northeast autonomous councils

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fifth and Sixth Schedules

Mains level: Development of Tribal Areas


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a Constitutional amendment to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.

Highlights of the Amendments

Easing Finances

  • The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils.
  • Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.

Transfer of Subjects

  • The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects including departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.

Amendments in Schedule VI

  • The cabinet approves landmark amendment to Article 280 and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • As per the amendment, at least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

More powers to Village Councils

  • The village councils would be empowered to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including those related to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.
  • The State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. There would be a provision for anti-defection too.
  • Meghalaya has for the time being opted out of the provision for elected village and municipal councils and one-third reservation for women.

Way Forward

  • This will be a game changer, as it will substantially enhance the funds available to these local government institutions for undertaking development works in these tribal areas.
  • The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grass-roots level.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Sikkim to roll out Universal Basic Income

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Inclusive growth & issues arising from it.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Universal Basic Income

Mains level: Debate surrounding Universal Basic Income


News

  • Sikkim will be the first state to roll out Universal Basic Income (UBI) by 2022 and has started the process to introduce the unconditional direct cash transfer scheme.

Background

  1. The 2017 Economic Survey had flagged the UBI scheme as a conceptually appealing idea and a possible alternative to social welfare programmes targeted at reducing poverty.
  2. It has been tested even in India, debated within the Finance Ministry as early as 2017.
  3. It has been tried in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and tribal belts with fairly large samples and it has shown it works.

What is UBI?

  1. A UBI would mean every single individual, regardless of their identity or economic status, is guaranteed a monthly income, transferred directly into their bank account by the government every month.
  2. It has three key components: universality, unconditionality and agency – the last condition as a way to give people a choice in how to spend the transferred money.

How will it be financed?

  1. The successful implementation of the hydropower projects by Sikkim has made it a surplus power generating state.
  2. The state produces 2200 MW and it will go up to 3000 MW in the next few years.
  3. The state’s requirement is only 200-300 MW and the rest goes to power trading firms.
  4. This money will be utilized by UTI and it will be for everyone and every household.
  5. The idea is to subsume other subsidies and allowances in order to provide a particular amount every month to people.

Feasibility Check

  1. Sikkim has a literacy rate of 98 per cent and its monthly per capita expenditure in rural areas is Rs 1,444.06 and it is Rs Rs 2,538.11 for urban areas.
  2. The BPL percentage has come down from 41.43% in 1994 to 8.19% in 2011-12.
  3. The state will also restructure some social schemes and the “skewed” tax structure to find more resources.
  4. With tourism being another source of revenue for the state – the state gets around 2.5 million tourists a year –there could be some cess in future to generate additional resource to implement the scheme.

Also refer:

Should India adopt Universal Basic income Model

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] A bridge across the Brahmaputra

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Importance of infrastructure development in Northeast India


Context

Bogibeel bridge inaugrated

  1. Bogibeel, the longest railroad bridge of India, spanning nearly five-km across the Brahmaputra was inaugurated recently
  2. It will link Dibrugarh with North Lakhimpur district of Assam and parts of eastern Arunachal Pradesh
  3. For thousands of poor people, living in eastern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, this is truly a momentous occasion

Why the bogibeel bridge is important?

  1. For decades, the only recourse for people to cross the Brahmaputra would be to chug along for over an hour, in a diesel-propelled ferry, which would also carry their vehicles and goods, even cattle
  2. Crossing the river could be a costlier proposition than flying between Mumbai and Goa
  3. Commissioning the bridge has reduced the journey time across the river to less than five minutes, bringing relief to people living in these remote parts

New era for northeast India

  1. The single biggest factor which has shackled the development of the Northeast region is the absence of robust connectivity
  2. A maze of river systems across Arunachal Pradesh, with their confluence in the Brahmaputra, have posed an enormous challenge
  3. The commissioning of Bogibeel, therefore, is a harbinger of hope
  4. The bridge’s significance goes well beyond the succour to local residents
  5. It has the potential to infuse economic dynamism in the region and provide opportunities for the expansion of tourism, industrial development and trade
  6. The iconic Bhupen Hazarika bridge over the Lohit river was commissioned recently
  7. A 7.5 km long bridge over the Dibang river was dedicated to the nation a few days ago
  8. The Trans Arunachal Highway has seen considerable progress, especially in the eastern part of the state
  9. An airport has been commissioned at Pasighat, barely two hours away from Dibrugarh

Dibrugarh connectivity is essential

  1. Dibrugarh is reclaiming its lost glory
  2. It used to be a thriving centre of the plantation industry during the colonial times
  3. For the people of the region, it remains a hub of higher education and medical treatment
  4. Dibrugarh lies at the heart of a crucial oil and gas axis in Assam, given its proximity to Digboi and Duliajan oilfields
  5. Further east lie the Kharsang gas fields and Kumchai oilfields of Arunachal Pradesh. The district also has significant coal deposits
  6. There are more than 200 tea factories in Dibrugarh
  7. Commissioning of the bridge has raised the prospects of industrial development and opportunities of productive employment for the youth, especially in the mining and plantation sectors

Foreign policy implications

  1. Bogibeel is the gateway to the historic Stilwell Road, which connects Ledo in Assam to Kunming in China, passing through Myanmar’s Kachin state, via Arunachal Pradesh
  2. The 1,800 km long route was used for transporting arms to the Chinese by the Americans during World War II
  3. Its revival for trade is well within grasp now
  4. The route could well become the centrepiece of the ambitious Act East Policy

Strategic importance

  1. From a strategic standpoint, movement of troops has become a much quicker, efficient and reliable proposition
  2. The road beyond Dibrugarh leads to the frontier parts of Arunachal Pradesh, with a fully functional advanced landing ground of Air Force at Walong, barely 100 km from the Chinese border
  3. This was a theatre of armed incursion in 1962. Now access to one of the remotest border outposts in Anjaw has been made much easier

Way forward

  1. Bogibeel is poised to usher winds of change in this part of the world
  2. However, the advantage of connectivity must be accompanied by an imaginative blueprint of economic development, drawing upon the region’s advantages
  3. The symbolism of Bogibeel goes well beyond the Brahmaputra

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] North East Industrial Development Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NEID Scheme

Mains level: Development projects in the NE


News

North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017

  1. NEIDS has been launched to catalyse the industrial development in the North Eastern Region.
  2. It has come into force from 01.04.2017 and will remain in force up to 31.03.2022.
  3. It covers eligible industrial units in the manufacturing and service sectors Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
  4. The scheme provides:
  • Central Capital Investment Incentive (30% of the investment in plant & machinery with an upper limit of Rs. 5 crore),
  • Central Interest Incentive (3% interest on working capital for 5 years),
  • Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (Reimbursement of 100% insurance premium for 5 years),
  • Income Tax Reimbursement of centre’s share for 5 years,
  • GST reimbursement of Central Govt. share of CGST & IGST for 5 years,
  • Employment Incentive under which additional 3.67% of the employer’s contribution to EPF in addition to Govt. bearing 8.33% Employee Pension Scheme (EPS) contribution of the employer in PMRPY and
  • Transport incentive on finished goods movement by Railways (20% cost of the transportation), by Inland Waterways Authority (20% of the cost of transportation) & by air (33% of cost transportation of air freight).
  1. The Scheme does not envisage sanction of projects; rather, eligible units are registered after following due process.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Government rejects separate time zone for NE States

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | Geographical features & their location

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  IST system

Mains level: Issue of two time zones being raised by NE India receives a full stop.


News

  • A panel, formed to examine having a separate time zone for the NE States, recommended against it for “strategic reasons”.

Proposed time zones: IST-I and IST-II

  1. The custodian of Indian Standard Time (IST) proposed two time zones IST-I and IST-II for the country as follows:
  • IST-I would be same as current IST, that is, UTC +5:30
  • IST-II would be UTC +6:30 owing to the difference of one hour between eastern and western part of the country
  1. The borderline between two time zones would have been 89°52’E, the narrow border between Assam and West Bengal.
  2. States west of this line would have followed IST-I (UTC +5:30) while states east of this line (Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands) would have followed IST-II (UTC +6:30).
  3. The implementation would require the establishment of a laboratory for ‘Primary Time Ensemble II’ generating IST-II in any of the north-eastern states, which would be equivalent to the existing ‘Primary Time Ensemble-I’ at CSIR-NPL, New Delhi.

Need for two time zones

  1. India extends from 68°7’E to 97°25’E, with the spread of 29 degrees, which amounts to almost two-hours from the geographical perspective.
  2. For decades, legislators, activists, industrialists and ordinary citizens from India’s northeast have complained about the effect of IST on their lives.

Following are the factors which compelled the people from northeast to demand a different time zone:

1. Loss of daylight hours and excess electricity usage

  • Since the sun rises as early as four in the morning and in winter it sets by four in the evening, the region loses most of its daytime hours before the government offices and schools are opened.
  • This ends up with more electricity usage.
  • A different time zone would allow sunsets to take place later, allowing the citizens to better use their daylight hours.
  • A study done by Bengaluru based National Institute of Advanced Studies concluded that a separate time zone for the northeastern region could help in saving 2.7 billion units of electricity every year.

2. Effect on biological clocks of citizens

  • The longitudinal extremes of the country are assigned a single time zone which not only creates the loss of daylight hours but also creates problems relating to the biological clock.
  • The biological clock is so active that when we move from one time zone to another, it forces us to sleep at an unusual time.
  • This is commonly known as jetlag and it requires few days to resynchronize our biological clock with the local solar timings.

No need for separate Time Zone

What are the strategic reasons?

  1. The other countries that have multiple times zones in single land mass, the population density is much less compared to India.
  2. The NE is hung with mainland of India through the narrow chicken’s neck.
  3. But in India, any border between separated time zones will run through densely populated areas, creating huge chaos.
  4. Separate time zones will mean separate schedules for same trains, flights that criss-cross the country on a daily basis.
  5. Moreover, the administration in India is not known for its efficiency.

Easy Solutions against separate time zone

  1. Although India has a single time zone, it does not mean that everyone has to follow the same routine/ work shifts.
  2. The regions in the east can start and end their work day one or two hours earlier, and get all the benefits of having a separate time zone, without the chaos associated with it.
  3. Individual organisations, companies, factories, educational institutions, public sector units, state governments can fix work hours based on their geographic location.
  4. For example, an office in Kolkata can have a workday of 8 to 4, there is no bar on doing so.

Best Example

  1. In Assam, the tea gardens follow a different time zone, known as Tea Garden Time or Bagan Time which is one hour ahead of IST.
  2. Most tea gardens in the organised sector in Assam start their workday at around 7 AM.
  3. Even the administrative offices of public sector companies like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) in Assam start working at 7 AM.
  4. As long as total work hours do not exceed prescribed limits set by labour laws, there is no bar on the private sector to fix their own work timings.
  5. Likewise, several colleges in Assam start their classes at 7 AM, or even before that.

Electricity: Not a big deal

  1. While talking about the benefit of separate time zone, it is said that there will be huge savings in money due to better utilisation of daylight.
  2. In the analysis of estimated savings, the entire power bill of an organisation is taken into account.
  3. But that is the wrong approach to estimate that, because the light is not the only purpose that uses electricity, it is not even the largest user.
  4. In fact, with the advent of LED lights, the lighting takes a minuscule amount of power in a house.
  5. Most power is consumed in cooling, running computers and other equipment etc, and those uses will remain fixed no matter what the work timings are.

Global examples are misleading

  1. There is a misleading information about countries like France has 12 time zones, and Britain has 9 time zones.
  2. France and Great Britain has only one time zone each.
  3. But as both the countries have several overseas territories, a legacy of colonies they had in past, those territories have separate time zones according to their geographic locations.
  4. Those are separate land masses located at different continents, most of them being islands at oceans, hence they do not suffer from any problem that India might face with multiple time zones.

Back2Basics

Biological / Circadian Clock

  1. The 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young for their research which elucidated that plants, animals, and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with Earth’s revolution.
  2. They established that biological species are ruled by internal clocks (biological clocks) that run on a 24-h light-dark cycle in synchronization with the sun.
  3. Due to this synchronization humans fall asleep at night and plants synthesize chlorophyll in the presence of sunlight.
  4. This diagram depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in the morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 pm).

With inputs from: India Today

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

India’s tallest bridge pier built in Manipur

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Noney Bridge and its details

Mains level: Development projects in the NE


News

  • The Northeast Frontier Railway Construction Organization has constructed India’s tallest pier as part of the project to build a railway bridge at Noney in Manipur.
  • The proposed bridge will be the world’s tallest railway bridge.

Noney Bridge

  1. The bridge is being constructed across the valley of river Ijai near Noney, with the height of the final pier being 141 metres.
  2. On completion, the bridge will surpass the existing world record, held by the 139-metre Mala-Rijeka viaduct in Montenegro.
  3. The total length of the Noney bridge will be 703 metres.
  4. The bridge is a part of the 111-km Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge line project, a national project which is set to be completed by 2022.
  5. The project also includes 45 tunnels, the longest being 10.28 km, which will be the longest railway tunnel of the northeast.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] ‘Experiencing North East’ festival

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Experiencing North East festival

Mains level: Tourism promoting initiatives for North-Eastern Region


News

Context

  • The ‘Experiencing North East’ festival depicting the uniqueness of North Eastern culture is being organised 27th-31st October, 2018.

‘Experiencing North East’ Festival

  1. The festival, a part of Destination North East series, is being organised by North Eastern Council (NEC), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) in collaboration with India International Centre.
  2. The festival will showcase the vibrant strengths of North East India and display its art, handicraft, handlooms, tourism, food, culture etc.
  3. There will be special performances daily by eminent cultural troupes, bands and artistes from North East, including Nise Meruno, classical pianist and vocalist.
  4. The event which is a part of ‘Destination North East’ series aims at showcasing the diverse culture and heritage of North East all under one roof.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

India, Myanmar sign MoU towards Sittwe Port operationalization

Note4Students:

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Kaladan Project

Mains Level: Importance of Kaladan Project


News

Kaladan Project: A step closer

  1. India and Myanmar signed a MoU for the appointment of a private Port Operator for the Operation and Maintenance of Sittwe Port, Paletwa Inland Water Terminal and associated facilities.
  2. All these facilities are included in the Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport Project in implementation of India’s Act East Policy.

Importance of the move

  1. Following this MoU the process of identifying bidders to maintain these facilities will be initiated by floating a request for proposal.
  2. The commencement of operations at this port, it would offer new infrastructure for trade including between India and Myanmar.
  3. It would thereby contribute to job creation and development in the whole region, particularly in the Rakhine and Chin States of Myanmar.

Back2Basics

Kaladan Project

  1. The project is aimed to connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Rakhine State, Myanmar by sea.
  2. The project includes a waterway component of 158 km on Kaladan River from Sittwe to Paletwa in Myanmar and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui along the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram.
  3. Originally, the project was scheduled to be completed by 2014, but is expected to be operational only by 2019-2020.
  4. All components of the project, including Sittwe port and power, river dredging, Paletwa jetty, have been completed, except the under construction Zorinpui-Paletwaa road.
  5. This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

20km Assam bridge to be India’s longest

Note4Students:

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: remember the name of the bridge, and its location, river, etc. Also note down the advantages of this bridge.

Mains Level: Infrastructure project in the north-east


News

Dhubri- Phulbari Bridge

  1. India’s longest river bridge will be built across the Brahmaputra, connecting Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya, and will cut road travel by 203km as also travel time.
  2. The 19.3km, four-lane bridge will be built by 2026-27.
  3. The construction of any bridge across the Brahmaputra takes time since construction work can be carried out only for six months in a year.
  4. It will be built by the government’s highway construction wing, the National Highways and Industrial Development Corporation Ltd.
  5. Japanese funding agency JICA has approved a loan for this project as a part of a road infrastructure improvement package in the north-east.

Benefits of the bridge

  1. The new bridge will complete the missing link of NH127B from Assam to Meghalaya. Currently, small boats run between Dhubri and Phulbari.
  2. It takes about two and a half hours to cross the river. It will hardly take 15-20 minutes to cross the river after the bridge becomes operational.
  3. It will push economic activities and development on both sides of the river.

Back2Basics

India’s longest bridges

19.3 km

  • The proposed new bridge, between Dhubri and Phulbari.
  • At present, people cross the river either in small boats and by vehicles that have to take a detour of 100 km before climbing the Naranarayan bridge.

9.15 km

  • The country’s longest river bridge, as of now.
  • Between Dhola and Sadiya in Assam, it extends to 28.50 km if the approach roads on either side are included.
  • It reduces the distance from Rupai (Assam) to Roing (Arunachal Pradesh) by 165 km, and travel time from 6 hours to 1 hour.

6.2 km

  • In Arunachal Pradesh, over the river Dibang, opened this year.
  • Second only to Dhola-Sadiya bridge so far.

5.75 km

  • Patna-Hajipur, over the Ganga, next on the list of river bridges

5.6 km

  • Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, longest bridge over sea

4.94 km

  • To be opened this year, India’s longest rail-cum-road river bridge (the river bridges above are all road).
  • This bridge, too, will be over the Brahmaputra, connecting Dibrugarh (Assam) to Pasighat (Arunachal).

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Lost in time

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | Geographical features & their location

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Time zones

Mains level: Need of 2 time zones in India and hurdles in having it


Context

A new report advocating 2 time zones in India

  1. There is a request to change the temporal modalities of the Indian nation-state from its official time-keeper
  2. Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) have now argued that IST should be done away with at the Chicken’s Neck

Impact of 2 time zones

  1. Northeast India would move an hour ahead, increasing the region’s productive, daylight hours and the country’s potential energy savings could amount to a whopping 20 million kWh a year
  2. Offices could open sooner after sunrise, and perhaps workers could even savour the last dregs of dusk as they trudge towards home or their desired form of recreation
  3. Biomedical research has consistently pointed to the physical and psychological benefits of aligning circadian (sleep) rhythms to the sun’s rising and setting

Hurdles in implementation

  1. A long-standing argument against doing away with IST has been it would confuse the railway infrastructure
  2. In a country with so many diversities to amalgamate into a proverbial unity, asking the people of the Northeast to wake up an hour earlier might lead to yet another point of difference

Way forward

  1. Indian Standard Time (IST) disregards longitudinal reality — from east to west, there is “actually” a two-hour difference — which results in a significant loss of daylight hours in the eastern parts of the country
  2. A refreshing, if antediluvian, idea accompanies the notion of two time zones

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Should India have two time zones? National timekeeper adds new arguments

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | Geographical features & their location

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Latitude and longitudes, IST system

Mains level: Demand of two time zones being raised by northeast India and weight behind it


Context

Debate over 2 time zones

  1. Over the years, various citizens and political leaders have debated whether India should have two separate time zones
  2. The demand is based on the huge difference in daylight times between the country’s longitudinal extremes, and the costs associated with following the same time zone
  3. Opposition to the idea is based on impracticability — particularly the risk of railway accidents, given the need to reset times at every crossing from one time zone into another

New research suggests 2 time zones

  1. Now, a proposal for two time zones has come from India’s national timekeeper itself
  2. Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), which maintains Indian Standard Time, have published a research article describing the necessity of two time zones, with the new one an hour ahead of the existing time zone

Why have 2 time zones?

  1. India extends from 68°7’E to 97°25’E, with the spread of 29° representing almost two hours from the geographic perspective
  2. This has led to the argument that early sunrise in the easternmost parts — the Northeast — causes the loss of many daylight hours by the time offices or educational institutions open and that early sunset, for its part, leads to higher consumption of electricity
  3. Research identifies where the two time zones can be demarcated from each other — at the “chicken neck” that connects the Northeast to the rest of India, an area that is spatially narrow and reduces the possibility of railway accidents
  4. As the railway signals have not yet been fully automated in the country, the border between the two time zones should have a very narrow spatial-width with the minimum number of train stations so that the train timings while crossing the border can be managed manually without any untoward incidents
  5. The article also puts a figure to the country’s potential savings in energy consumption — 20 million kWh a year — if it does follow two time zones
  6. Synchronising office hours — as well as biological activities — to sunrise and sunset timings is important

The new system of time zones

  1. The research paper proposes to call the two time zones IST-I (UTC + 5.30 h) and IST-II (UTC + 6.30 h)
  2. The proposed line of demarcation is at 89°52’E, the narrow border between Assam and West Bengal
  3. States west of the line would continue to follow IST (to be called IST-I). States east of the line — Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands —would follow IST-II

Global & Indian standard time

  1. The geographic “zero line” runs through Greenwich, London
  2. It identifies GMT, now known as Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), which is maintained by the Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in France
  3. Indian Standard Time, maintained by CSIR-NPL, is based on a line of longitude that runs through Mirzapur in UP
  4. At 82°33’E, the line is 82.5° east of Greenwich, or 5.5 hours (5 hours 30 minutes) ahead of UCT

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Vision Document for Digital North-East 2022 released

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy| Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Vision Document

Mains level: Development initiatives for North-Eastern Region


Context

  1. Union IT Minister released the ‘Vision Document’ for a digital North East by 2022 that aims to enhance peoples’ lives by capacity building of government staff and doubling BPO (business process outsourcing) strength in the region
  2. The Vision Document aims to empower the people of the North Eastern region and state-wise roadmaps have been developed for implementing digital initiatives.

Particulars of Vision Document

  1. The document emphasises leveraging digital technologies to transform lives of people of the North East and enhance the ease of living
  2. A cloud hub for NE will be created in Guwahati and capacity building for 50,000 government staff will be taken up in using digital technologies, including Goods and Services Tax and payment platforms
  3. The number of seats planned for BPOs in the NE states will be doubled to 10,000 from 5,000, while the network of common service centres will be expanded to cover all villages
  4. High-speed broadband connectivity in all the uncovered villages in the NE region shall be provided.

Focus on 8 thrust areas

The document identifies eight digital thrust areas

  • digital infrastructure
  • digital services
  • digital empowerment
  • promotion of electronics manufacturing
  • promotion of IT and IT-enabled services including BPOs
  • digital payments
  • innovation & startups, and
  • cybersecurity

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Cabinet approves Repositioning of North Eastern Council

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NEC

Mains level : Development of North Eastern Region

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NEC

Mains level: Development of North Eastern Region


News

  1. The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
  2. It held the nomination of Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) – a statutory body with Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight North Eastern States as its Member.
  3. The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.

Impact of  this Restructuring

  1. NEC implements various projects through the State and Central agencies.
  2. This change would provide a forum for discussing inter-state matters more comprehensively and also consider common approaches to be taken in future.
  3. NEC can now also perform the tasks undertaken by the various Zonal Councils to discuss such inter-State issues as drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition, boundary disputes etc.

Back2Basics

North Eastern Council

  1. North Eastern Council (NEC) was constituted as a statutory advisory body under the NEC Act 1971 and came into being on the 7th November 1972 at Shillong.
  2. NEC was established under the North Eastern Council Act, 1971 as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with the States.
  3. Sikkim was added to the council in the year 2002
  4. Subsequent to the Amendment of 2002, NEC has been mandated to function as a regional planning body for the North Eastern
  5. While formulating a regional plan for this area, shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states.
  6. In case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Sikkim House expansion likely to get Home Ministry nod

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Parliament & State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges & issues arising out of these

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Representation of People Act, 1950

Mains level: Various tribal groups in the northeast and their representation in the state assembly as well as parliament


Increase in assembly seats

  1. The Ministry of Home Affairs is all set to move a proposal before the Union Cabinet to increase the number of seats in the Sikkim Assembly from 32 to 40
  2. This would be the first expansion of seats since Sikkim was merged with India in 1975

Process for an increase in seats

  1. The cabinet proposal will include amendments to the Second Schedule to the Representation of People Act, 1950

Reservation of seats

  1. The proposal to expand the House is likely to benefit the Limboo and Tamang communities
  2. They were notified as Scheduled Tribes in 2002
  3. The existing reservations for Bhutias, Lepchas, Scheduled Castes and Sanghas will be retained

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

AFSPA revoked in Meghalaya, parts of Arunachal

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), Protected Area Permit (PAP)

Mains level: Security situation in North-East and ways to improve it


Reducing AFSPA expanse

  1. The Centre has revoked The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya since April 1
  2. Earlier the AFSPA was effective in 20 km area along the Assam-Meghalaya border
  3. In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to eight police stations instead of 16 police stations and in Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts bordering Assam

Relaxing the Protected Area Permit (PAP)

  1. The Ministry has also relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland
  2. The PAP will be valid for five years, but residents from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China will not be allowed to visit these areas

AFSPA applicability

  1. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Tripura withdrew AFSPA in 2015

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Centre to ease access to border areas with an eye on tourism

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Protected Area Permit

Mains level: Measures being taken for mainstreaming northeast India


Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime to be eased

  1. The Centre is set to relax the Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime to enable foreign tourists to access border areas
  2. The move follows several requests from the border States of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Manipur and also the Tourism Ministry

Back2Basics

Protected Area Permit (PAP)

  1. Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the ‘Inner line’ and the International Border of the State have been declared as a ‘Protected Area’
  2. This is applicable to all of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand
  3. Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who wants to enter and stay in a Protected Area, is required to get a special permit
  4. Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin are not issued the permit without the Home Ministry’s approval

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Govt says no decision made yet on separate time zones in India

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | Geographical features & their location

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Time zones

Mains level: Demand for two time zones in India and its feasibility


Different time zones not possible

  1. The government said it has not made any decision on the demands for separate time zones in the country, especially by the northeastern states
  2. The government had set up a high-level committee in 2002 that had not recommended implementation of two-time zones in India because of complexities involved in the process

Why demand for different time zone?

  1. In a vast country like India, the sunrise and sunset timings are different in the east, west and north India
  2. In the far northeastern states, the sun rises and sets early when compared to northern and western regions of the country
  3. Having a single time zone hampers productivity in east and northeastern states

Global examples

  1. Several countries across the world have opted for multiple time zones for varied reasons, including increasing economic activity and productivity
  2. The US has seven time zones, Russia has 11, while China, like India, follows a single time zone

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Logistics hub to turn Assam’s Jogighopa into India’s new gateway to South-East Asia

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Jogighopa multimodal logistics park, special purpose vehicle, Asian Development Bank, Northeast Economic Corridor, Bharatmala programme, Logistic Performance Index

Mains level: Much needed infrastructure boost in northeast


Multimodal logistics park in Jogighopa

  1. Jogighopa, a small town in Assam, is set to become India’s gateway to South-East Asia as well as the rest of the North-East
  2. The road ministry is gearing up to develop a multimodal logistics park (MMLP) there with road, rail, waterways and air transport facilities

Execution of project

  1. A special purpose vehicle, backed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will be created to execute the project
  2. Under the project, all four types of transportation—road, rail, air and waterways—will be available

Initiatives to make alternatives to ‘chicken’s neck’

  1. The current transit corridors from mainland India to the North-East region pass through an area known as the “Chicken’s Neck”
  2. It is a narrow tract of land in India between the borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan
  3. The North-East region requires an alternative route for providing connectivity to the rest of India—a route with adequate expansion potential
  4. Recent developments like the announcement of the Northeast Economic Corridor under the Bharatmala programme of the road ministry aims to make more routes available
  5. The signing of the MoU (memorandum of understanding) between India and Bangladesh for developing the Dalu-Tura-Goalpara-Gelephu multimodal trade route will also help

Logistics sector: Rising importance

  1. Since last year the government has started prioritizing the logistics sector by granting it infrastructure status
  2. The Logistic Performance Index published by the World Bank shows India jumping 19 spots in the global ranking from 54 in 2014 to 35 in 2016

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Cabinet approves continuation of NLCPR scheme for North East till March 2020

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NLCPR, NESIDS scheme

Mains level: Development efforts for North-east India


News:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the existing Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme
  • The Union Cabinet also approved the introduction of new Central Sector Scheme of “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme” (NESIDS) from the Central Government to fill up the gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors

Features of NESIDS

  • Physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity and especially the projects promoting tourism
  • The infrastructure of social sectors of education and health will be created

Benefits of NESIDS:

  • The assets to be created under the new scheme of NESIDS will not only strengthen health care and education facilities in the region but will also encourage tourism thereby the employment opportunities for local youth.
  • The scheme will act as a catalyst for overall development of the region in the years to come

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Centre, NSCN-IM issue joint statement on Naga talks

  1. News: The Centre and the NSCN-IM issued a joint statement saying they were closer than ever before to the final settlement and hope to conclude it sooner than later
  2. Right direction: The peace dialogue has become more purposeful, less ritualistic and far more frequent & in the last two years there were more meetings than all the years before
  3. Background: Almost a year back, the framework agreement on Naga peace talks was finalised between Govt and NSCN-IM
  4. The signing of the framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations that spanned 18 years with first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

What is Ceasefire monitoring group?

  1. CMG was created in 2001 to formalise a permanent peace accord with Naga groups
  2. The various factions of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) have been a problem for North East India’s stability
  3. Aim of CMG: Creating an atmosphere for a political negotiation to end the decades-old insurgency problem in the border state
  4. News: For the first time a police officer (Former DG of BSF D.K. Pathak) has been appointed to the post of chairman of CMG

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

India asks Myanmar to act against NSCN-K leaders

  1. Context: Myanmar based NSCN-K violated the ceasefire agreement with the India in March 2015
  2. Background: Indian army’s special forces had launched an attack on insurgent camps 20 km inside Myanmar last year after they infiltrated parts of India
  3. Since India and Myanmar do not have an extradition treaty, we cannot ask Myanmar to hand over the leaders

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

NSCN has not given up on sovereignty

  1. News: Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), told that the outfit had not given up its demand for sovereignty
  2. In contrast with what the Minister of State for Home told last year – that the NSCN (I-M) had given up its demand for sovereignty and wants a Constitutional solution
  3. Muivah also said that a separate flag and passport for Nagas was not just a ‘demand’ but a right as the ‘Nagas were never under Indian rule’
  4. Background: NSCN (I-M) had signed a framework agreement with the government last year, to find a final solution to the Naga issue

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Time frame for final Naga accord

  1. News: Government is not sure of giving a timeframe for the Naga framework agreement
  2. The insurgent group may have also gone back on its demand for full sovereignty
  3. Background: Naga framework agreement was signed between the government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) [NSCN-IM] in Aug 2015
  4. Context: Claim made by the NSCN-IM recently that the government had accepted its demand for a separate passport and flag
  1. News: Government is not sure of giving a timeframe for the Naga framework agreement
  2. The insurgent group may have also gone back on its demand for full sovereignty
  3. Background: Naga framework agreement was signed between the government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) [NSCN-IM] in Aug 2015
  4. Context: Claim made by the NSCN-IM recently that the government had accepted its demand for a separate passport and flag

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Northeast capitals to get rail link by 2020

  1. Govt. said that the north-eastern State capitals would be connected by rail by 2020 and Agartala would get broad gauge facility by March.
  2. Govt. has accorded priority to the development of the north-eastern region, though taking the rails to hilly areas is a major challenge.
  3. Govt. is constructing 15-km railway track connecting Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh with top priority.
  4. This project is funded by the Centre for connecting Tripura and West Bengal via Bangladesh.
  1. Govt. said that the north-eastern State capitals would be connected by rail by 2020 and Agartala would get broad gauge facility by March.
  2. Govt. has accorded priority to the development of the north-eastern region, though taking the rails to hilly areas is a major challenge.
  3. Govt. is constructing 15-km railway track connecting Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh with top priority.
  4. This project is funded by the Centre for connecting Tripura and West Bengal via Bangladesh.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

It was a ‘framework pact’ with NSCN (IM)

  1. Union Home Minister referred the accord as a “framework agreement” and said it would help in resolving the Naga problem.
  2. The agreement between Govt. of India and NSCN(IM) was signed in August 2015
  3. Govt. has denied referring it as peace accord and the minor details are still being worked out.
  4. The two parties have agreed on the basic fundamental ground on which the accord would be signed.
  1. Union Home Minister referred the accord as a “framework agreement” and said it would help in resolving the Naga problem.
  2. The agreement between Govt. of India and NSCN(IM) was signed in August 2015.
  3. Govt. has denied referring it as peace accord and the minor details are still being worked out.
  4. The two parties have agreed on the basic fundamental ground on which the accord would be signed.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Chetia has given support to peace talks: Rajkhowa

  1. ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia has given his support to the ongoing peace talks between the banned outfit and the Centre.
  2. The ULFA central committee had demanded that Chetia be included in the peace talks.
  3. Even, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi wants that Anup Chetia should be associated with the peace talks.
  1. ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia has given his support to the ongoing peace talks between the banned outfit and the Centre.
  2. The ULFA central committee had demanded that Chetia be included in the peace talks.
  3. Even, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi wants that Anup Chetia should be associated with the peace talks.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Centre sets up panel to review Garo Hills security

  1. The Centre informed the Meghalaya HC that a committee has been set up to review the security situation Garo Hills districts.
  2. Earlier, the HC issued an order directing the Centre to consider the use of the AFSPA and deployment of armed and paramilitary forces.
  3. HC wanted to control the deteriorating law and order situation in the Garo Hills.
  4. The committee will review the security situation in the Garo Hills and on the India-Bangladesh border (in Meghalaya).

The Centre informed the Meghalaya HC that a committee has been set up to review the security situation in the insurgency-ravaged Garo Hills districts.

  1. Earlier, the HC issued an order directing the Centre to consider the use of the AFSPA and deployment of armed and paramilitary forces.
  2. HC wanted to control the deteriorating law and order situation in the Garo Hills.
  3. The committee will review the security situation in the Garo Hills and on the India-Bangladesh border (in Meghalaya).

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

NSCN factions making inroads in Arunachal

  1. The framework peace agreement signed by the NDA govt. with the NSCN(IM) is haunting the govt. again!
  2. Two other factions — the Khole-Kitovi and Reformation — were not part of the initiative.
  3. Recently, MHA has extended the imposition of the AFSPA in 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh by another 6 months as these two breakaway factions were making inroads in the State.
  1. The framework peace agreement signed by the NDA govt. with the NSCN(IM) is haunting the govt. again!
  2. Two other factions — the Khole-Kitovi and Reformation — were not part of the initiative.
  3. Recently, MHA has extended the imposition of the AFSPA in 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh by another 6 months as these two breakaway factions were making inroads in the State.
  4. NSCN(K) is gaining foothold in parts of Longding district and the NSCN(R) is aiming areas which were hitherto dominated by NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K).

 

Seems like one of the pertinent issue here is the multiplicity of factions!

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Security agencies suspect NSCN (I-M) is regrouping

  1. A series of developments raises serious concern about the security situation in the region, especially in Manipur.
  2. Reports of extortion, arms and drugs smuggling have registered a rising trend.
  3. The outfit has seems to have setup new camps in the hills of Manipur to accommodate fresh cadres recruited since the peace accord.
  1. A series of developments raises serious concern about the security situation in the region, especially in Manipur.
  2. Reports of extortion, arms and drugs smuggling have registered a rising trend.
  3. The outfit has seems to have setup new camps in the hills of Manipur to accommodate fresh cadres recruited since the peace accord.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Bridging the North-East for Act East

Can Northeast become economic hub of India? What factors promote or prevent from that happening?

Southeast Asia and East Asia have become the most dynamic components of India’s external economic relations.

  1. Geography wise – The region shares more than 4,500 km of international border, imparts a critical role to India’s Northeast in the pursuit of any plan to foster economic integration with both South and Southeast Asian neighbours.
  2. These land borders also become important for ensuring border security and maintaining peace and tranquility.
  3. The Northeast is connected to the rest of India through the narrow Siliguri corridor quite appropriately called the “Chicken’s Neck.”
  4. The first need to improve connectivity between the Northeast and the rest of India; the second would be to enhance connectivity within the Northeast itself and the third would be to establish new cross-border transport and communication links with neighbours.
  5. There has to be a master plan for linking all the Northeastern states together with a network of road, rail and air links.
  6. Northeast connectivity has not been given much attention so far, but without progress in this category, the Act East policy would not bring economic benefits to the region.
  7. Cross-border connectivity needs to be focus. There is an ambitious Trilateral Highway Project to link India, Myanmar and Thailand, with possible extensions to Laos and Vietnam.
  8. Economic integration with larger East Asia such as through the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor would then be possible on more equal terms.

If all these comes into real picture, then economically vibrant sub-regional economic zone would emerge, with the Northeast as its hub.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

The fractious demand for ILP in Manipur

  1. Manipur is demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit(ILP) in the state.
  2. If ILP bill is passed and enacted into law, it will require outsiders to obtain a special pass or permit to enter the state.
  3. System is already in force in the state of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
  4. Since Manipur is not officially a tribal State there are constitutional challenges to implement the ILP System.
  5. Among 3 major communities of Manipur – Meities, Kukis, Nagas, the ILP System is demanded by Meties.
  6. The govt. could implement the 6th Schedule in the hill areas which would ensure autonomy for the Kukis and Nagas in their respective regions within Manipur.
  1. Manipur is demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit(ILP) in the state.
  2. If ILP bill is passed and enacted into law, it will require outsiders to obtain a special pass or permit to enter the state.
  3. System is already in force in the state of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
  4. Since Manipur is not officially a tribal State there are constitutional challenges to implement the ILP System.
  5. Among 3 major communities of Manipur – Meities, Kukis, Nagas, the ILP System is demanded by Meties.
  6. The govt. could implement the 6th Schedule in the hill areas which would ensure autonomy for the Kukis and Nagas in their respective regions within Manipur.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Peace pact only a formula to a final accord, says Nagaland CM

  1. The agreement evoked serious responses from CM’s of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh about their territorial integrity.
  2. Nagaland CM promised to meet the neighbouring CMs to remove their apprehensions.
  3. A 16-member Naga delegation would visit Myanmar to meet S.S. Khaplang, the chief of the NSCN(K) to discuss the agreement.
  4. Naga customary system and landholding system needs to be respected based on the unique history of Nagas across Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast.
  1. The agreement evoked serious responses from CM’s of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh about their territorial integrity.
  2. Nagaland CM promised to meet the neighbouring CMs to remove their apprehensions.
  3. A 16-member Naga delegation would visit Myanmar to meet S.S. Khaplang, the chief of the NSCN(K) to discuss the agreement.
  4. Naga customary system and landholding system needs to be respected based on the unique history of Nagas across Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Assam, Manipur, Arunachal CMs still in the dark on Naga accord

  1. Union govt. did not keep the CMs of the neighbouring states in loop and neither informed them about framework agreement.
  2. Centre was ready to give autonomous councils to the Naga-dominated population in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
  3. The CMs opposed the idea of creating autonomous councils in their states and refused to accept any kind of law imposed from outside.
  1. Union govt. did not keep the CMs of the neighbouring states in loop and neither informed them about framework agreement.
  2. Centre was ready to give autonomous councils to the Naga-dominated population in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
  3. The CMs opposed the idea of creating autonomous councils in their states and refused to accept any kind of law imposed from outside.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Autonomous councils key to Naga deal success

  1. The creation of autonomous councils for Naga people outside Nagaland is under consideration by the Union govt.
  2. These are locally appointed governments that already function in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.
  3. Their creation is likely to be met with stiff resistance from the neighbouring states, where the migrant Naga population lives.
  1. The creation of autonomous councils for Naga people outside Nagaland is under consideration by the Union govt.
  2. These are locally appointed governments that already function in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.
  3. Their creation is likely to be met with stiff resistance from the neighbouring states, where the migrant Naga population lives.

 

Evaluate the usefulness of this policy maneuver [Creation of autonomous councils] in India’s political and governance history.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Breakthrough in Nagaland

  1. The landmark deal leaves some smaller groups such as Khole-Kitovi and the reformation factions, out of decisive phases of the peace process.
  2. NSCN(K) is already hostile about engagement and is building alliance with other small insurgent groups.
  3. Govt. needs to take into account that several players of insurgency are not yet taken on board.
  4. The agreements should be built upon by involving all the stakeholders viz. other groups, Naga civil society and representatives of neighbouring states.
  5. The challenge for the govt. is to provide Naga sense of identity without acceding the claims on territories of other states.
  1. The landmark deal leaves some smaller groups such as Khole-Kitovi and the reformation factions, out of decisive phases of the peace process.
  2. NSCN(K) is already hostile about engagement and is building alliance with other small insurgent groups.
  3. Govt. needs to take into account that several players of insurgency are not yet taken on board.
  4. The agreements should be built upon by involving all the stakeholders viz. other groups, Naga civil society and representatives of neighbouring states.
  5. The challenge for the govt. is to provide Naga sense of identity without acceding the claims on territories of other states.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Autonomous councils for Nagas key to deal success

  1. Autonomous councils for Nagas outside Nagaland is under consideration although redrawing of state boundaries is not on cards.
  2. A similar peace accord failed in 2011 when States with a sizeable Naga population of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh opposed such councils.
  3. Autonomous councils are locally appointed Govts. that operate in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, West Bengal and J&K.
  1. Autonomous councils for Nagas outside Nagaland is under consideration although redrawing of state boundaries is not on cards.
  2. A similar peace accord failed in 2011 when States with a sizeable Naga population of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh opposed such councils.
  3. Autonomous councils are locally appointed Govts. that operate in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, West Bengal and J&K.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Centre inks peace accord with Naga insurgent group

  1. Govt. has signed a peace accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muviah) – one of the largest insurgent outfits in the North East.
  2. They have been demanding a unified Naga identity and a separate state of Nagalism for past six decades.
  3. However, there is no clarity on the Sovereignty clause and the details of accord have not yet been made public.
  1. Govt. has signed a peace accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muviah) – one of the largest insurgent outfits in the North East.
  2. They have been demanding a unified Naga identity and a separate state of Nagalism for past six decades.
  3. However, there is no clarity on the Sovereignty clause and the details of accord have not yet been made public.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Controversial Bill on migrants goes

  1. A special session of the Manipur Assembly on Wednesday withdrew the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill, 2015.
  2. The Bill did not provide for same protections as Inner Line Permit system and the Meitis community – the most powerful community – demanded regulation of outsiders to maintain their grip on power.
  1. A special session of the Manipur Assembly on Wednesday withdrew the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill, 2015.
  2. The Bill did not provide for same protections as Inner Line Permit system and the Meitis community – the most powerful community – demanded regulation of outsiders to maintain their grip on power.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Protests continue to rock Manipur

  1. Fearing they will become minority in their own state if ILP is not implemented, locals launched a campaign to get it implemented.
  2. Inner Line Permit is currently in operation in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and is a system making it mandatory for Indian citizens to seek permission for entering the State.
  1. Fearing they will become minority in their own state if ILP is not implemented, locals launched a campaign to get it implemented.
  2. Inner Line Permit is currently in operation in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and is a system making it mandatory for Indian citizens to seek permission for entering the State.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Rajnath for cut in Central forces in North East. Why?

  1. Citing that the insurgencies in the region were at all time low and state police forces were strengthened, HM urged CMs to realistically decrease deployment of central forces in their states.
  2. This will make the environment easy and encourage positive thinking of outsiders about this region.
  1. Citing that the insurgencies in the region were at all time low and state police forces were strengthened, HM urged CMs to realistically decrease deployment of central forces in their states.
  2. This will make the environment easy and encourage positive thinking of outsiders about this region.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] The tortuous road to Naga peace

The publicity that surrounds the success of India’s ‘cross-border’ strike against rebels in Myanmar cannot hide the fact that the real failure of Indian intelligence was not in predicting the possible spot of the ambush but in anticipating the emergence of a rebel coalition in the jungles of Myanmar.

Quick recap of the history:

  1. In 1997, civil society organisations brokered a ceasefire agreement between Govt. of India and NSCN (Isaac-Muivah), which was later joined by Khaplang faction in 2001.
  2. Govt. later discontinued the negotiations with NSCN (Khaplang) owing to his Myanmarese origin, strategically separating it.
  3. Khaplang signed a ceasefire agreement with Myanmar in 2012, allowing him to roam freely in the territory.
  4. Many critics of the Indian decision-making process have suggested that very limited success has been achieved by the ceasefire and so the GoI is trying to wear these rebels down.
  5. There are so many splinter groups that brokering peace with one/ some leads to fallout with others and they rise up waging a war again.

 

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Governments don’t sing about covert operations

India’s security challenge is complex. But its strategic communication, official and unofficial, needs a lot more maturity. We have an uncanny ability to cast shadows over our own achievements.

And as the great Atal Bihari Vajpayee — no stranger to covert operations and cross-border engagement — said: Kahani shuru toh sab ko karni aati hai, khatam kaise karenge kisi ko nahi pata (everyone knows how to start something, but no one knows how to end it).

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Manipur ambush: Why the attack?

  1. NSCN(K) along with KCP and KYKL claimed responsibility for 4th June attack on 6 Dogra regiment killing 18 army personnel.
  2. The Myanmar-based NSCN(K) pulled out of the ceasefire agreement with Indian govt. in March,2015.
  3. The deeper story points to its rift with the NSCN (IM), the rival outfit on which the Indian government has focused its attention in recent years.
  4. Despite being based in Myanmar, the NSCN (K)’s sphere of influence and strike capability extended deep inside India.
  5. Funding for NSCN(K) is sourced from extraction rackets and drugs trade across the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and India.
  6. These movements continue to survive for over 50 years, due to great deal of support and public sympathy, despite growing disillusionment with ‘liberation movements’ in Manipur.
  1. NSCN(K) along with KCP and KYKL claimed responsibility for 4th June attack on 6 Dogra regiment killing 18 army personnel.
  2. The Myanmar-based NSCN(K) pulled out of the ceasefire agreement with Indian govt. in March,2015.
  3. The deeper story points to its rift with the NSCN (IM), the rival outfit on which the Indian government has focused its attention in recent years.
  4. Despite being based in Myanmar, the NSCN (K)’s sphere of influence and strike capability extended deep inside India.
  5. Funding for NSCN(K) is sourced from extraction rackets and drugs trade across the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and India.
  6. These movements continue to survive for over 50 years, due to great deal of support and public sympathy, despite growing disillusionment with ‘liberation movements’ in Manipur.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Manipur: Waiting to happen

  1. Reactive measures have never achieved lasting results in tackling insurgency in the Northeast.
  2. Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) continue to operate out of Myanmar to carry-out violence in N-E states, which makes the case for Myanmar’s cooperation to ensure border security.
  3. This issue has been discussed at various high-level interactions, but IIGs continue to use Myanmar territory, despite Myanmar’s repeated assurances not to allow activities inimical to India.
  4. The solution to problem of militancy in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam lies in joint operation with the Indian security forces stationed on the Indo-Myanmar border.
  5. Myanmar fell short of India’s expectation to ensure peace along the border, due to its deliberations on country-wide ceasefire with ethnic groups, including NSCN(K).

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

20 soldiers killed in Manipur militant ambush

  1. Insurgents ambushed a military convoy killing at least 20 Army personnel.
  2. Naga insurgent outfit NSCN (Khaplang) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
  3. The NSCN (K) had withdrawn from the ceasefire arrangement with New Delhi in March.
  4. The SS Khaplang-led Naga NSCN (K) is based in Myanmar and is closely tied to the Meitei insurgent groups.
  5. Although there are several militant outfits in Manipur, most of them operate under the NSCN’s shadow, particularly in Naga-dominated areas like Chandel.
  1. Insurgents ambushed a military convoy killing at least 20 Army personnel.
  2. Naga insurgent outfit NSCN (Khaplang) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
  3. The NSCN (K) had withdrawn from the ceasefire arrangement with New Delhi in March.
  4. The SS Khaplang-led Naga NSCN (K) is based in Myanmar and is closely tied to the Meitei insurgent groups.
  5. Although there are several militant outfits in Manipur, most of them operate under the NSCN’s shadow, particularly in Naga-dominated areas like Chandel.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Where armed insurgents roam about freely

  1. The ceasefire agreement with NSCN puts restriction on movement outside camps, prohibition on acquiring any new arms and refraining from extortions and intimidation.
  2. The agreement makes these cadres eligible for remuneration from govt.
  3. The free movement of insurgent cadres had created an atmosphere of fear amongst civilians, who are later forced to offer support to them.
  4. The ceasefire ensures that there will be no state operation against these armed groups.
  5. The solution lies in raising a common Northeast law enforcement force for monitoring internal cross border ‘ceasefire signatory’ insurgencies.
  6. The monitoring and supervision of the ceasefire camps should be carried out on a monthly basis, which includes updated data of cadres, weapons and illegal activities.

 

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