SHILLONG, Nov 30: Meghalaya has been exempted from setting up village and municipal councils as has been informed by the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma here on Friday.
Conrad had provided this information after a meeting which he chaired in which representatives from the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), traditional institutions and NGOs were present besides the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) joint secretary in-charge North East Satyendra Garg.
Having emerged from this meeting, Conrad said that the meeting was a positive one as almost hundred percent of the concerns expressed by the state government, district councils, traditional institutions and other stakeholders have been addressed by the proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule which is likely to be placed before the upcoming winter session of Parliament.
Stating that most of the organizations have expressed their satisfaction on the points being taken up, Conrad also congratulated the MHA for taking due consultations on the matter to ensure the sentiments of the people are incorporated in the amendment bill.
“There is high chance for the amendment Bill if all goes well to be placed in this winter session of the parliament and based on this, there is also a chance that it may even be cleared,” Conrad said.
Meanwhile, MHA joint secretary Satyendra Garg said that the meeting was a culmination of the discussion and the stakeholders were informed about the final shape of the constitutional amendment which is coming.
“We have told all your concerns have been addressed and we are ready to move to the Cabinet and the Parliament for finalizing the amendment,” Garg said while stating that concerns on village council and municipal council have also been addressed.
With regards to the proposed increasing the number of seats in the three ADCs – KHADC, JHADC and GHADC, the MHA official said it has been incorporated as has been suggested by the state government.
“We have proposed that seats in the KHADC and GHADC will go up to 40 out of which four will be nominated and two are for women. For the JHADC increase will be from 30 to 34 seats out of which 30 elected and of 4 nominated two will be (reserved) for women,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Indigenous Tribal Constitutional Rights Movement (MITCRM) which comprises of headmen and NGOs expressed hope that the move of the Centre to amend the Sixth Schedule will further strengthen the indigenous communities in the region.
MITCRM spokesman Samuel B Jyrwa informed that the MHA official had clarified that the setting up of the village council and municipal council, which the movement had strongly expressed its reservation, will now be exempted from Meghalaya.
“It was also agreed that the election processes in the tribal district councils will remain the same,” Jyrwa said.
He said a paragraph in the proposed amendment which says that the governor will report to the president and that Centre can have a say on the functioning of the ADCs, was also deleted from proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule.
He further informed that the movement also welcomed the proposal to increase the number of seats of the tribal district councils and also bringing them under Article 280 of the Constitution of India to avail funding from the Centre’s consolidated fund.
“We also welcome the proposed introduction of the anti-defection law in the ADCs to prevent defection of members and also to disallow holding of dual posts,” he added.