Ladakh’s statehood demand

Ladakh’s statehood demand

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Territory of Ladakh witnessed a shutdown as part of demands for statehood and constitutional protection under the Sixth Schedule.


GS-02 (Government policies and interventions, Federalism)

Key Demands of the state:

  • Ladakh’s representatives are advocating for significant changes to its governance structure and representation, aiming to enhance its political autonomy and safeguard the rights of its indigenous population.
  • One key demand is the elevation of Ladakh from its current status as a Union Territory to a full-fledged state, granting it greater decision-making authority.
  • Additionally, they are pushing for constitutional safeguards under the 6th Schedule to protect the cultural, linguistic, and land rights of the region’s indigenous inhabitants.
  • Another crucial aspect is the reservation of jobs for Ladakhi youth, ensuring equitable access to economic resources and opportunities.
  • Furthermore, a proposal to establish separate Parliamentary constituencies for Leh and Kargil, recognizing the distinct characteristics and needs of each region.
  • In response to these demands, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has set up a high-powered committee to engage with Ladakh’s representatives and address their concerns effectively.

Constitutional Provisions Related to Formation of States in India:

  • Article 3 of the Indian Constitution grants Parliament the authority to undertake actions regarding the formation, alteration, or dissolution of states. These actions include creating new states, altering state boundaries, or changing state names.
  • Conditions under Article 3 require Parliament to introduce a bill for state changes with the President’s prior recommendation, and to seek the views of the concerned state legislature.
  • Parliament holds authority to form new states or union territories by uniting or separating territories, and is not bound to adhere to the views of the state legislature.
  • India’s federal structure allows for the creation and alteration of states and union territories, ensuring a dynamic and adaptable governance framework.

Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution delineates the administrative framework for specific regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • These areas function as Autonomous Districts and Regions, safeguarding the cultural, linguistic, and land rights of indigenous populations.
  • Under this schedule, the Governor holds the authority to designate administrative centers and alter territorial boundaries within these autonomous areas.
  • Originally divided into two parts, the schedule now encompasses ten regions across the four states, each with distinct legislative, executive, judicial, and financial powers.

Features of the Sixth Schedule:

  • Legislative Functions: District Councils within autonomous regions are empowered to enact laws pertaining to land, forests, village administration, marriage, social norms, and more, subject to approval from the state governor.
  • Executive Functions: District and Regional Councils oversee the development and management of various public amenities such as schools, dispensaries, highways, and waterways. They also determine educational policies for primary schools.
  • Judicial Functions: Council Courts adjudicate disputes involving Scheduled Tribes within the district, with jurisdictional limitations on crimes punishable by death or a minimum five-year sentence.
  • Financial Functions: District and Regional Councils formulate budgets, levy taxes on businesses, trades, and goods, and issue permits for mineral mining within their jurisdiction.

Significance of the Sixth Schedule:

  • The Sixth Schedule provides a framework for the autonomous governance of tribal areas, ensuring the preservation of indigenous rights and cultures while promoting local development and administration. Through its provisions, it seeks to empower tribal communities by granting them legislative, executive, judicial, and financial autonomy within specified regions.