SHILLONG, Sept 12 - The Meghalaya Government will forward the views and concerns of various stakeholders on the proposed amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
District Council Affairs (DCA) Minister James Sangma said in the Meghalaya Assembly today that all views would be taken on board after the Opposition expressed concern over inclusion of the words, �unrepresented tribes�, in the proposed amendment.
In the proposed amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, the term �unrepresented tribes� has been incorporated to facilitate nominations to the Khasi Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (KHATC) and the Garo Hills Autonomous Territorial Council (GHATC).
Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh, expressing concern over the inclusion of the words, said, �The words should be removed from the proposed amendment to the Sixth Schedule.� In his reply during the Question Hour, DCA Minister Sangma said the words refer to �those tribes who are in the schedule of tribes in Meghalaya�. Meghalaya has three major tribes � Garo, Khasi and Jaintia � and other tribes like Rabha, Hajong and others.
However, Congress legislator from Umroi, George Lyngdoh, disagreed with the minister�s reply and said the �unrepresented tribes� refer to the tribes listed under the Presidential Order of 1950. Lyngdoh said there are 50 to 60 tribes listed under the Presidential Order of 1950. If the proposed amendment is accepted, the autonomous district councils would have to make nominations from this list too.
The DCA Minister stated that a committee headed by him would take up the concerns of civil societies, organisations, traditional heads and pressure groups and present these before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Sangma further said under the proposed amendment, there would be increase of seats in the autonomous district councils with the GHATC�s strength set to increase from 30 to 42. He said that 36 members would be elected on the basis of adult suffrage.
�The Governor shall nominate six members. At least two of the nominations shall be women and four shall be from the unrepresented tribes,� the DCA Minister said.
In the KHATC, the seats will increase from 30 to 40. Thirty-six members will be elected on the basis of adult suffrage. �The Governor shall nominate four members of whom at least two shall be women and two shall be from the unrepresented tribes,� Sangma added.
In the Jaintia Hills Autonomous Territorial Council, the number of seats will increase to 34. Four members, including at least two women, will be nominated by the Governor and the rest of the members will be elected on the basis of adult suffrage.