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14th December 2022 (6 Topics)

Ministry evades direct reply on demand to include Ladakh under the 6th Schedule


Union Home Ministry was found evading a direct reply on the possible inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.


  • In August 2019, the former State of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories — Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh, the latter without a Legislative Assembly.
  • Since, then several political groups in Ladakh have been demanding that land, employment, and the cultural identity of Ladakh, should be protected under the Sixth Schedule.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs

  • According to its report, the tribal population in the Union Territory of Ladakh is 2,18,355, which is 79.61% of the total population of 2,74,289.
  • The committee recommended that special status may be granted to the Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Committee further recommends that the possibility of including Ladakh in the fifth or sixth Schedule may be examined.

Union Home Ministry reply

  • The ministry has clarified that the main objective for the inclusion of tribal populations under the fifth/sixth schedule is to ensure their overall socio-economic development, which, the UT Administration has already been taking care of since its creation.
  • The centre is providing sufficient funds to Ladakh to meet its overall developmental requirements.
  • It added that the Ladakh administration had recently increased the reservation for Scheduled Tribes in direct recruitment from 10% to 45%.
    • It could which would help the tribal population significantly in its development

Why there are demands to include Ladakh under the 6th Schedule?

  • The demand is on since 2021 for constitutional safeguards by amending the Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Council (LAHDC) Act under the sixth schedule.
  • The Schedule protects tribal populations, providing autonomy to communities through the creation of Autonomous Development Councils, which can frame laws on land, public health, and agriculture.
  • As of now, ten autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

Difficulty Behind Ladakh’s Inclusion:

  • Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would be difficult. The Constitution is very clear, the Sixth Schedule is for the Northeast.
    • For tribal areas in the rest of the country, there is the Fifth Schedule.
  • Notably, no region outside the Northeast has been included in the Sixth Schedule.
  • Even in Manipur, which has predominantly tribal populations in some places, the autonomous councils are not included in the Sixth Schedule.
  • Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which are totally tribal, are also not in the Sixth Schedule.
  • However, it remains the prerogative of the government, it can, if it so decides, bring a Bill to amend the Constitution for this purpose.

About the Sixth Schedule

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states. This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
  • Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, the Sixth Schedule was formulated to provide limited autonomy to the tribal regions of the Northeast.
  • It was based on the reports of the Bardoloi Committee formed by the Constituent Assembly.
    • The committee report stated that there was a need for a system of administration that would allow tribal areas to become developed.
    • The report also called for the protection of these tribal areas from exploitation by the people in the plains and preserving their distinct social customs.
  • It gives the tribals freedom to exercise legislative and executive powers through an autonomous regional council and autonomous district councils (ADCs).
  • The ADCs are the districts within the state to which the central government has given varying degrees of autonomy within the State Legislature.

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