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Centre clears amendment to Art 280, Sixth Schedule

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NEW DELHI, Jan 23 - The Centre on Wednesday cleared amendment to Article 280 and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The move envisages improving the financial resources and administrative powers of the autonomous district councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

The amendment also paves the way for constitution of state finance commissions in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Briefing newsmen here, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the landmark amendment that will significantly increase financial resources and powers of the autonomous districts councils in the four northeastern states.

The Finance Commission constituted by the Union government will now be specifically mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the ten autonomous district councils as well as the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas, the minister said.

�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,� Prasad said.

The amendment proposes to rename the existing autonomous councils 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 extends to more than one district. There will also be increase in seats in these councils.

The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects, including public works department, forest, public health engineering, health and family welfare, urban development, and food and civil supply to KAATC and DHATC in Assam, thus greatly strengthening the autonomous councils and giving them a major role in the day-to-day governance and developmental activities, Prasad said.

The amendment also provides for elected village and municipal councils ensuring grassroots 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 the seats for women in 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 Northeast Sixth Schedule areas resulting in empowerment of women, the minister said.

There will be state election commissions for holding elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. Meghalaya has for the time being kept out of the purview of the provision for elected village and municipal councils and one-third reservations for women, he said.

Prasad said the amendment will fulfil the commitments made under memoranda of settlement signed by the Government of India, state governments of Assam and Meghalaya, United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and Achik National Volunteers� Council (ANVC).

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Centre clears amendment to Art 280, Sixth Schedule

NEW DELHI, Jan 23 - The Centre on Wednesday cleared amendment to Article 280 and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The move envisages improving the financial resources and administrative powers of the autonomous district councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

The amendment also paves the way for constitution of state finance commissions in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Briefing newsmen here, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the landmark amendment that will significantly increase financial resources and powers of the autonomous districts councils in the four northeastern states.

The Finance Commission constituted by the Union government will now be specifically mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the ten autonomous district councils as well as the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas, the minister said.

�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,� Prasad said.

The amendment proposes to rename the existing autonomous councils 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 extends to more than one district. There will also be increase in seats in these councils.

The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects, including public works department, forest, public health engineering, health and family welfare, urban development, and food and civil supply to KAATC and DHATC in Assam, thus greatly strengthening the autonomous councils and giving them a major role in the day-to-day governance and developmental activities, Prasad said.

The amendment also provides for elected village and municipal councils ensuring grassroots 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 the seats for women in 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 Northeast Sixth Schedule areas resulting in empowerment of women, the minister said.

There will be state election commissions for holding elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. Meghalaya has for the time being kept out of the purview of the provision for elected village and municipal councils and one-third reservations for women, he said.

Prasad said the amendment will fulfil the commitments made under memoranda of settlement signed by the Government of India, state governments of Assam and Meghalaya, United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and Achik National Volunteers� Council (ANVC).

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