SHILLONG: The Union Cabinet today approved the amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India and Article 280 of the Indian Constitution paving way for the strengthening of the Autonomous District Councils.
The amendment fulfilled the commitments of the tripartite Memorandum of Settlements signed by Central Government, Assam/Meghalaya Government, United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and Achik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC).
The existing autonomous councils will be renamed as Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC), Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council (DHATC), Garo Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (GHATC), Khasi Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (KHATC), Jaintia Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (JHATC) and Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous Territorial Council (TTAATC) as the present jurisdiction of these Councils extend to more than one districts. There will also be increase in seats in KAATC, DHATC, GHATC, KHATC and JHATC.
A State Finance Commission will be set up in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as to improve the financial resources and administrative powers of the Autonomous District Councils of the respective states. It will be specifically mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the ten ADCS as well as the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas.
The proposed amendments provide for elected village and municipal councils ensuring grass root democracy. The village councils will be empowered for preparation of plans for economic development and social justice including those in relation to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.
There will be reservations of at least one-third of seats for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura and at least two of the nominated members in all autonomous councils in the North East Sixth Schedule areas resulting in empowerment of women, but Meghalaya has for the time being kept out of the purview.
There will be State Election Commissions for holding elections to the Autonomous Councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
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