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Manipur People’s Protection Bill

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Security challenges and their management in border areas.

 

Manipur People’s Protection Bill

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Highlights of the bill, ILP- meaning and features.
  • For Mains: Protests over the bill and concerns associated with ILP, opposition to Citizenship Amendment Bill.

 

Context: Manipur state government has decided to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2018, if there is no clause to protect the indigenous peoples of the North East (NE) region in general, and Manipur in particular.

 

What’s the demand?

The state has submitted a memorandum to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to give President’s assent to the Manipur Peoples (Protection) Bill, 2018. It will protect the interests of people of the State.

 

Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018:

It seeks to regulate the entry and exit of “outsiders” on the lines of the British-era inner-line permit system prevalent in three other north-eastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The bill sets 1951 as the base year to identify locals and prevent an influx of outsiders.

 

Who are Manipuris and non- Manipuris?

According to the bill, Manipur people include Meitis, the Pangal Muslims, scheduled tribes as listed under the Constitution in terms of Manipur and all those citizens of India who have been living in Manipur before 1951.

The rest have been put in the category of non-Manipuris and will have to register themselves within one month of the notification of the law. They will be issued a pass extendable up to six months. While those who have trade licences can get a pass extendable up to five years, which will have to be renewed every year. Any outsider visiting Manipur would need a pass.

 

Rationale behind the Bill:

The influx of foreign tourists has increased exponentially in Manipur, thus creating a demographic imbalance in the region. If this was not enough, illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar has also contributed to the crisis. This has created fear among the locals over employment and availability of resources.

At a time where there already exists stiff competition between the locals and outsiders over jobs, the outsiders mostly settle for low paid work. Hence, locals feel ILP fails to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people.

 

WHAT IS THE INNER LINE PERMIT?

The Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to grant inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indians residing outside those states to obtain permission prior to entering the protected areas.

Currently, the Inner Line Permit is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. The document has been issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 and the conditions and restrictions vary from state to state.

It can be issued for travel purposes solely. Visitors are not allowed to purchase property in these regions. However, there might be a different set of rules for long term visitors, though they are not valid for central government employees and security forces.

 

Sources: the hindu.