Governance in the Sixth Schedule Areas in India’s North-East: Context, Content and Challenges

AuthorPrabhat Kumar Datta,Panchali Sen
Publication Date01 June 2020
DOI10.1177/0019556120916885
Date01 June 2020
SubjectArticles
Governance in the Sixth
Schedule Areas in India’s
North-East: Context,
Content and Challenges
Prabhat Kumar Datta1,2,3 and Panchali Sen4
Abstract
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in the eastern range North-East (N-E)
has the ‘seven sisters’—Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram,
Nagaland and Tripura, along with a small and beautiful cousin in the Himalayan
fringes, namely, Sikkim. Nearly ninety-eight per cent of N-E is surrounded by inter-
national boundaries and two per cent with the rest of India. Often known as ‘the
ethnic cauldron’, this region is the home of extraordinarily diverse mosaic of ethnic
groups having distinctive social, cultural and economic identity, more akin to their
South Asia neighbours than mainland India. It is a habitat of a good number of ethnic
rebel groups whose agendas vary from complete session from India to fighting for
ethnic identities and home lands. The primary objective of the colonial rule in N-E
was to ensure its administrative insulation which might have largely contributed
to the continuation of the backwardness of the N-E region. It is probably the only
political region in the country where every large state is a region unto itself within
a sub-continental nation. This uniqueness is found reflected in the legislations and
institutions like the North Eastern Council Act, 1971, setting a nodal agency for the
economic development of the region with a secretariat of its own and a separate
Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region created in 2001. In this
article, an attempt has been made to analyse the background, context, content
and significance of the Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India which was
incorporated to provide self-rule to the tribal population in the N-E India.
Keywords
Sixth Schedule, Autonomous District Councils, customary laws, ethnic groups,
administrative reforms
Article
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
66(2) 191–205, 2020
© 2020 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
in.sagepub.com/journals-permissions-india
DOI: 10.1177/0019556120916885
journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
1 Institute of China Rural Studies, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China.
2 Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, India.
3 The former Centenary Chair of Public Administration, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.
4 Department of Political Science, St. Xaviers’ College, Kolkata, India.
Corresponding author:
Prabhat Kumar Datta, Institute of China Rural Studies, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China.
E-mail: dattaprabhat@gmail.com

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