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Denotification of 10 Cantonments

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The Ministry of Defence has denotified civil areas of 10 cantonments, including ones in Uttarakhand, UP, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan. The process involves merging these areas with state municipalities. Himachal Pradesh, with seven cantonments, is also undergoing this process, with Khas Yol already denotified.

 

What is the plan?

In 2023, the Ministry of Defence had notified that plan to carve out the military areas in cantonments and convert them into “exclusive military stations” with the Army exercising “absolute control” over them. The civilian areas, in turn, will be merged with the local municipalities to provide them with the benefits of various government schemes. Not all cantonments will become military stations as some army and civilian pockets are intertwined.

 

What are the issues with Cantonments?

Cantonments have strict restrictions on construction, road use, and common area occupation, causing tension between civilians and the military. Civilians face challenges in obtaining home loans and accessing government schemes. Even basic renovations require multiple permissions.

 

About Cantonments:

Information Description
Definition A proclaimed area under the Cantonments Act, 2006, governed and controlled by the central government of India to provide municipal services for civilians living in the area.
History It was established by the East India Company after the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Barrackpore (Calcutta) was the first Cantonment established in 1765. Currently, there are 62 cantonments in India.
Categories Cantonment Boards are categorized into four categories based on population: Category I (>50,000), Category II (10,000-50,000), Category III (2,500-10,000), and Category IV (<2,500).
Administration Cantonment administration falls under the purview of the Union Government (Ministry of Defence), as outlined in the Cantonments Act, 2006, following the guidelines set by the 74th Constitutional Amendment. While the Union Government holds administrative authority, State Governments have the prerogative to implement schemes within Cantonment areas.
Composition Consists of up to eight members: three ex-officio members, three nominated military members (garrison engineer, station commander, and senior executive medical officer), and one representative of the district magistrate.
Services Provided Sanitation, primary education, street lighting, water supply, maintenance of roads, bridges, and public hospitals.
Cantonments vs Military station Cantonments are civilian areas that are under the control of the military, and they usually have a civilian population living in them as well. Military stations, on the other hand, are purely military areas where only military personnel and their families reside.