About: The Zomi tribe, Sixth schedule, Powers under the Sixth Schedule, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)

Manipur’s Zomi people push for BTC-like council

In News

  • The Zomi Council, representing nine Zomi tribes, has renewed its demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

About: The Zomi tribe

  • Zomi council is an apex body of the Zomi tribes which include Gante, Kom, Mate, Paite, Simte, Tedim Chin, Thangkhal, Zou and Vaiphei.
  • Zomi identify themselves as descendants of the Zo, the Tibeto-Burman people that speak Chin-Kuki language group.
  • They are scattered in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. The Zomi population is over 2 lakhs in Churachandpur district (of Manipur) alone.

Background

  • The creation of ZTC was desired by majority tribes represented by the tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreements over the years between the Centre, the Manipur government and 25 extremist groups belonging to the Kuki-Zomi groups.
  • While 17 of these groups formed the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), eight came together as the United People’s Front (UPF).
    • The SoO agreement was first signed by the underground Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) in 2005 and the other groups joined in later.

  • The KNO and UPF had demanded the creation of an autonomous hill state within Manipur 2010.
  • Later in 2017, the demand evolved into a self-administered zone similar to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam.

About: Sixth schedule

  • The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. 
  • It seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population in these states through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC). The ADCs have varying degrees of autonomy.
  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region. In case one District Council area has more than one kind of tribe a Regional Council is created.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Powers under the Sixth Schedule:

  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers and can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • The councils are also empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor.
  • The roles of the central and state governments are restricted from the territorial jurisdiction of these autonomous regions.
  • Also, Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives her or his approval.

About: Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)

  • The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is an autonomous district council (ADC) for the Bodoland Territorial Region in Assam.
  • The BTC has been given greater autonomy to frame laws in comparison to other District Councils.
  • Unlike the other ADCs with limit of 30 members, BTC can constitute up to 46 members out of which 40 are elected.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Council can make laws on 39 additional subjects such as culture, education, health and agriculture, labour and employment, land and revenue among others.

News Summary:

  • The tribals in Manipur have also been demanding the extension of Sixth Schedule provisions (currently only extended to Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram) to their state for many decades.
  • There are talks ongoing between the Manipur government and the Kuki umbrella groups for the creation of Kukiland Territorial Council.
  • Now, the nine Zomi tribes are also raising the demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC).

Reasons for the demand of ZTC:

  • The tribes in Manipur do not get the benefits of the provisions of Sixth Schedule.
  • Due to this, the Zomi tribe representatives say they have lagged behind in terms of socio-socio-economic and political development.
  • Thus, the Zomi Council demand a ZTC similar to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) of Assam, as it has additional powers.

 Polity & Governance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: