Why Sixth Schedule for Ladakh

By Konchok Norboo Leh, Jan 19, 2021
Leh :

Tsewang Norbu, B tech (ECE): 6th schedule was originally included in the constitution by the drafting committee after intense discussion and deliberations on the report put forwarded by the "Bardoli committee". The provision is made specifically for the areas which are economically, socially, geographically, and educationally backward compared to the mainland, India. 

Ladakh meets all the criteria with a significant 95% of the Tribal population but surprisingly it is still not declared as a tribal area even after recommended by NCST (National commission of schedule tribe). Therefore, I feel it is our fundamental right to get included under the 6th schedule with respect to Article 14 (equality before the law and equal protection of the law) in which latter states that the state should give equal treatment under equal circumstances, but disappointingly here, in our case, we don't see equal treatment by the government.

Consequences like the influx of outsiders will inevitably change the demography, economy, and ecology of Ladakh. So, if we want any safeguard, we want only the constitutional safeguard under the 6th schedule. I humbly urge Ladakhis to not settle for less and if we do, that would be equivalent to putting our own house on fire.

Soliha Koisar, Btech (ECE): Under the Sixth Schedule, autonomous districts and councils have a varying degree of autonomy to frame laws to protect the interests of the tribals.
6th schedule is the need of the hour for us. The LAHDCs does not even have the power to legislate or frame any rules as per the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils Act. Earlier Ladakh had to take the concurrence of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame a rule. After the abrogation of article 370, the Centre had assured that the Councils would be empowered but the experience since then has been very disheartening.

Article 35A was good for the people of Ladakh as nobody from outside could buy land here. But now, the people as well as councils can transfer lands to anyone. But this can change if safeguards are granted under the Sixth Schedule.

Also, administrative issues have come up after Ladakh became a UT. Currently, the officers at the council are accountable to the Centre. Their transfer and annual progress report is under Centre, so decision taken at the council level gets delayed in execution because the person or the chief executive overseeing the development is accountable to the Centre. These issues can only be resolved when the council is given autonomy under the Sixth Schedule. 

Kunga Thinley, Visual designer, Ona Design Studios:  "A young kid in the future Ladakh watches as his father skillfully carves out an intricate piece of choktse (table) for his client. Piece after piece his father goes a step further every time to produce the best results possible. With each new design customized specifically to the clients need, the kid falls in love with the process and follows in his father's footsteps only to end up working for a Delhi company in the town that mass manufactures the same design over and over again simply because his family business couldn't keep up with the competitive prices. He makes minimum wage, our money flows outside the state and we lose out on our rich handicraft heritage only to save a few bucks." 

This case is not limited to only this field but possibly every one or other economic activity that influences our life and the ecology here without a convenient safeguard granted by the government which could be summed in the provision of the 6th Schedule.

Let's not make the above situation take place. Support our right to the 6th Schedule and preserve our rich culture that's been handed down for generations.

Nida Iqbal, Dentist: I personally support the current movement of the Apex body and the people to demand the provisions of the 6th Schedule which our Government had especially laid to let the Tribal people develop as per their convenience by providing them with the District Autonomous Council which has the tremendous power to protect the indigenous population against any sort of exploitation from outside the Union Territory without the consent of the Council. 

Since it is what we deserve as per the Constitution which is already been provided in some north-east states I don’t see us dissenting to the authority in any manner, but rather asking what they are supposed to confer us with as the same demand for the 6th Schedule was also recommended by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) for Ladakh in their 119th meeting last year. So, now that even the government bodies had approved of our concern, I hope we are not left clueless anymore. 

Phuntsog Targais, History teacher:  We all know that when Ladakh was under the state of j&k it used to enjoy certain protection, but after the abrogation of the state, it was clear that government didn't have proper planning. 

They say change is inevitable but Indians citizen’s rights are as permanent as its constitution’s fundamental rights which assents us with the equality before the law and its UT Ladakh 97% tribal people’s rights to be included under the 6th Schedule just like few states in the northeast. So now, the vigilant citizens have already analyzed and acknowledged this critical situation which is clear from the fact that people of Ladakh started demanding to be included in the 6th schedule. 

The clear reason out of many is that Ladakhis are concerned regarding the job protection for the youth and the upcoming future, now some people may object saying that we are afraid of the competition but the fact is children outside Ladakh are five steps ahead education-wise as there's not even a well-established university comparatively with every facility here yet which clearly gives them an edge above us because of the lack in the development in the higher education department. 

The threat is also with no doubt from big MNC companies, be it, in particular, the tourism sector which contributes almost 50% of Ladakh GDP or any other sort of business. Lastly, due to the fragile environment that Ladakh has, it becomes quite obvious that it cannot sustain a lot of population since people here depend on glaciers for water in the summer.