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Unrest in Ladakh for sixth schedule status

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    23rd Feb, 2024

Context

Thousands of Ladakh residents in Leh are protesting for Ladakh’s full Statehood and inclusion in the Sixth Schedule.

Background

Background (Formation of Ladakh as a UT) 

  • In August 2019, the abrogation of Article 370 stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. As a consequence, Ladakh was carved out as a separate Union Territory, distinct from Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Unlike Jammu and Kashmir, which retained a legislature, Ladakh became a UT without one. This change left Ladakhis concerned about their identity, resources, and bureaucratic control.

The Demands

  • Full Statehood for Ladakh: Ladakhis seek full statehood, allowing them greater autonomy and decision-making power within their region. Statehood would empower Ladakh to address its unique challenges effectively.
  • Inclusion in the Sixth Schedule: The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution provides special provisions for tribal areas. They demand a Bodoland-type powerarrangement that protects the rights of indigenous people over their land with legislative subjects that are exclusive to local governments without interference from Central Laws.
  • Job Reservations for Locals: The influx of outsiders poses a threat to local employment opportunities. Ladakhis demand job reservations to protect their livelihoods.
  • Separate Parliamentary Seats for Leh and Kargil: Ladakh comprises two distinct districts: Leh and Kargil. Each district deserves representation in the Indian Parliament.Separate parliamentary seats would allow Ladakhis to voice their concerns effectively.

What is the ground to ask for sixth schedule status?

  • This was primarily driven by concerns over the protection of tribal rightsand the preservation of the unique cultural identity of the local communities.
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has recommended that the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Sixth Schedule: 

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in north eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, according to Article 244 of the Constitution
  • Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, the Sixth Schedule seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
  • ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.   
  • Along with protecting the tribal population, the Schedule provides autonomy to the communities through creation of autonomous development councils (ADCs) which are empowered to frame laws on land, public health, agriculture and others
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