Issues related to sixth schedule areas

  • There are frequent conflicts of interest between the District Councils and the state legislatures. For example, in Meghalaya, despite the formation of the State, the whole of the State continues to be under the Sixth Schedule causing frequent conflicts with the State Government.
  • Various tribal communities with different cultures and customs within one autonomous council for example Bodo Council and Chakma Council in Assam.
  • Inflow of migrants has caused demographic imbalances and increased social tensions.
  • The tribal elite have appropriated all the power and common citizens left helpless.
  • Competition among local officials, police and communities has chocked the development and has increased resentment among the people.
  • These areas lack political mobilization i.e. Mainstream parties having regionalism, localism and communism as political ideology which has drag down the developmental work. People here have low political participation.
  • In case of conflict between the District Councils and the State Legislature, the state enjoys the superiority, but then it is alleged that autonomous councils are mere platform for aspiring politicians who nurture ambitions to contest assembly polls in the future.
  • However, there are certain issues due to which the sixth schedule has ended up creating multiple power centers instead of bringing in a genuine process of democratization or autonomy in the region such as Conflict of Power, governor functioning and disparity among autonomous bodies and local bodies.
  • Thus, despite autonomy, development benefits have not reached the people and caused isolation in the region.
  • Newly created Union Territory like Ladakh is also demanding sixth schedule status on par with Bodoland Territorial council.

Though issues persist, the Sixth Schedule mandating the state to devolve certain political, administrative and fiscal powers to local governments elected by the communities due to which, it has been quite successful in countering the so-called Separatist movements, militancy etc, of which some have become active insurgencies, as a key issue in North-East. It ensures the tribal culture is protected upholding diversity.