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1-min read

Cabinet Approves 'Landmark' Constitutional Amendment to Strengthen NE Autonomous Councils

The move would mean that close to 1 crore people in 10 autonomous district councils would have more access to funds for local development.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:January 23, 2019, 10:20 PM IST
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Cabinet Approves 'Landmark'  Constitutional Amendment to Strengthen NE Autonomous Councils
File photo of PM Narendra Modi chairing a cabinet meeting.
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New Delhi: In a bid to smoothen ruffled feathers in North East after the citizenship amendment bill backlash, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the constitution bringing in tribal dominated autonomous district councils of North East under purview of the central finance commission.

The move would mean that close to 1 crore people in 10 autonomous district councils would have more access to funds for local development.

Mizoram CM Conard Sangma called the move historic. In his tweet, Sangma said, "Thank you @narendramodi ji and @rajnathsingh ji for the historic decision to approve constitutional amendment to substantially increase financial resources and other powers of Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of #Northeast."

Three districts in Assam-Karbi Anglong, North Kachar Hills Autonomous District Council, Bodo Autonomous District Council, three in Meghalaya; Khasi, Garo and Jaintia Hills, three in Mizoram; Lai, Chakma and Mara, and one in Tripura- Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council will benefit from the move.

"These council areas were worse off because regular finances were not reaching them. Hence the need was felt to bring them at par with rest of country and under ambit of finance commission," a top officer in Union ministry of home affairs said.

The government plans to introduce the Article 280 and Sixth Schedule Constitutional Amendment Bill in the budget session of parliament next month.

The move would mean panchayat and municipal body elections in these districts will be conducted by the state election commissions.

One third of the seats in the local body will be reserved for women. So far the village councils were headed by traditional village heads.

Meghalaya, however has opted out of the election provision for now.

A government official said that the decision by the cabinet can prove to be a game changer since it would bring these 10 districts of North East at par with the rest of the country and allow the elected councils more finances to carry out developmental works in the agriculture, water management and road construction sectors.

| Edited by: Debdeep Mukherjee
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