A deputation of Manipur Autonomous District Councils led by Chairman of Churachandpur District Council, Shri Langkhanpau Guite, called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh here today and demanded that provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution be extended to Manipur which, according to them, would give them more powers and pave the way for a viable lasting solution to the long standing problems of the region.
The deputation brought to the notice of the DoNER Minister that the six District Councils in the State of Manipur were established four decades ago following the passage of Manipur Hill Areas District Autonomous Councils Act 1971, but these are still controlled by the State Government, and have been denied adequate empowerment because of the non-implementation of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. During the intervening period, there was also a boycott of the Council elections in protest but even then their grievances were not addressed.
The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution provides for greater financial power and direct funding of District Councils from the Centre. It also enables appropriate judicial and legislative powers conducive to the tradition of the region and the tribals.
The members of the deputation alleged that the State Government was deliberately trying to keep them deprived of the Sixth Schedule even though its provisions had already been extended to the neighbouring States of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Assam and Tripura. They requested the DoNER Minister to take up their cause with the Prime Minister so that the District Councils in the State are fully empowered to safeguard traditions, customs and culture of the region.
Dr. Jitendra Singh gave a patient hearing to the deputation and said that the development and growth of the tribals of Manipur Hill Areas is high on the agenda of the union government. He assured the deputation that he will look into their demands and find out the best possible mechanism to ensure that as Members of District Councils, they feel confident and capable of delivering results in accordance with the aspirations of the people.
Besides Shri Langkhanpau Guite, other prominent persons in the deputation included District Council Members Shri H. Mangchinkhup, Shri M. Gouzamang Guite, Shri Kamsuanlun and Shri Genne Khup Vaiphei.