Schedules and Tribal Areas
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Scheduled and Tribal Areas – Indian Polity Notes

Administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas – Post Independence, the constituent assembly and policy makers were met with issue of how to address the question of tribes, which formed significant chunk of population and were not integrated into mainstream Indian society. 

For integrating them into mainstream Indian society, Article 244 in Part X was added.

The tribal population is concentrated in 2 regions:

  1. Central and Western India: Hindusied Tribes, which have influence of Hindu religion.
  2. North East: These tribes were isolated from mainstream society. Followed their own rites and rituals.

What are Scheduled Areas:

According to Part C of Sixth Schedule, “the Scheduled Areas’ means those areas that are declared by the order of the President to be Scheduled Areas”.

Fifth Schedule Areas are regions which are declared as scheduled areas other than states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Declaration of Scheduled Area:

Scheduled Areas in 5th schedule is declared by the President. Power to declare, power to end(remove certain region from 5th schedule), increase or decrease boundaries of such region lies with the President of India. President takes such decisions upon consultation with Governor of concerned state.

Criteria for Declaring Scheduled Area:

  • Prominent numbers of tribal population, i.e. when tribal people are in majority in an area
  • Compactness and reasonable size of the area
  • A viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk, and
  • Economic backwardness of the area as compared to the neighbouring areas.

Executive Power of State and Centre:

Constitution provides the Governor in states with Scheduled Areas special responsibilities. He submits report to the President annually or whenever required regarding the administration of scheduled areas.

Union Government can give directions to the state governments with regards to administration of such areas.

Tribes Advisory Council:

Each state having scheduled area has to establish Tribes Advisory Council to advise on welfare and advancement of the scheduled tribes as referred by Government. Maximum strength of such council shall be 20, out of which 3/4th members shall be representatives of scheduled tribes in legislative assemblies. It must be noted here though the councils have been given autonomy, state government has Executive control over them.

Laws Applicable to Scheduled Areas:

Power to modify any particular act of parliament or state legislature in context of scheduled area. Governor can make regulation for peace and good governance in any area which is scheduled area upon consultation with Tribes Advisory Council. E.g. Regulation of Land alienation and money lending. Governor can apply specific laws in scheduled areas

Fifth Schedule States:

  1. Himachal Pradesh
  2. Rajasthan
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Chhattisgarh
  5. Jharkhand
  6. Odisha
  7. Telangana
  8. Andhra Pradesh
  9. Gujarat
  10. Maharashtra

Tribal Areas (Sixth Schedule)

This term is been used in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in context of administration of tribes residing in North Eastern States of India especially in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

These tribes have been excluded from mainstream culture. Integration rather than assimilation was adopted as theme based idea propounded by Varrier Elvin and recommendations based on Gopinath Borodolai Committee.

Administration of Tribal Areas:

  • Theme of Sixth Schedule is based on Autonomy and Development.
  • Each autonomous district has District Council or Regional Councils. 
  • District councils have autonomy for a particular tribe living in a district. It can have maximum 30 members out of which 24 are directly elected for 5 years term and 4 are nominated by the Governor who serves at pleasure of Governor.
  • Regional Council have autonomy for many tribes living in a district. It has similar composition like the District Council.
  • NOTE: Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam has 40 members.
  • Powers of District Council & Regional Council:
    • Legislative Power: They can make laws on land, forest, shifting cultivation, marriage etc. But in this process consent of Governor is needed to enforce them.(Much like legislative Assemblies but with smaller jurisdiction).
    • Administrative Powers: They can establish schools, fisheries, ferries, control money lending, trading etc.
    • Financial Powers: They can he given power to impose certain taxes.
    • Judicial Powers: They can establish local courts for suites and cases between tribes. Appeal against courts lies with District Council or Regional Councils and further appeal lies with the State High Court.
  • Despite of sizeable autonomy granted to these councils, state government continues to have executive control over these councils.
  • Note: There is provision to create autonomous state comprising tribal areas in Assam, where Parliament may by law create legislature. Using this Meghalaya was created.

Special Responsibilities of Governor:

  • Modification in laws made by state legislature or Union Parliament.
  • Governor can declare areas under sixth schedule, reduces or increase the area 
  • Governor can set up a commission related to administration of the Council.
  • Governor may recommend dissolution of Council.
  • Separate find and governor will make rules for its management.

Sixth Schedule Areas:

  1. Assam:
    1. The North Cachar Hills District.
    2. Karbi Anglong District.
    3. The Bodoland Territorial Areas District.
  2. Meghalaya:
    1. Khasi Hills District
    2. Jaintia Hills District
    3. The Garo Hills District
  3. Tripura: 
    1. Tripura Tribal Areas District.
  4. Mizoram:
    1. The Chakma District.
    2. The Mara District.
    3. The Lai District.

Difference between Fifth Schedule & Sixth Schedule:

Parameters Fifth Schedule Sixth Schedule 
AreaIt deals with Tribes living in Central and Western India It deals with Tribes living in North Eastern States.
States Covered Any states having scheduled areas notified by the President except Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya.Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Scope of Autonomy Since Tribes are from mainland, these areas have comparatively less autonomy Significant autonomy for district and regional councils.
Councils:Tribes Advisory Council is dominated (15 out of 20) by state MLAs 26 members are directly elected. 
Changes in boundaries Can be done only by the President with consultation with the President.Can be done by the Governor concerned.
Difference between Fifth Schedule & Sixth Schedule

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