Assam: Agreement signed among Centre, Assam and UPDS

A tripartite Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) was signed among the Centre, Assam Government and United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS). The MoS provides for enhanced autonomy for Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in Assam and also a special package for speedier socio-economic and educational development of the area for which the Council has been set up.

The salient features of the MOS include:

  • Setting up of a committee under Assam Legislative Assembly as envisaged under Article 371B of the Constitution of India;
  • Renaming of existing Council as Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC);
  • Increasing seats in the Council up-to 50 members of which 6 will be nominated by Governor for more representation (presently 30 seats out of which 4 nominated by Governor. However, proposed increase in seats from existing 26 to 44 elected seats and also nominated seats shall be applicable subsequent election to the Council due in 2016-17 or mid-term poll, if any, whichever is earlier;
  • Setting up of Village Councils for deepening democratic process at the grass root level and
  • Transfer of additional subjects by the State of Assam to the Council along with legislation and executive powers, among others.

Background

In the past, violence marked the agitation of the UPDS that was intended to attract the attention of the Government towards the backwardness of the Karbi Anglong District. After realising futility of the violence, in August 2002, UPDS came forward and expressed its willingness to give up violence and seek solution of its problems peacefully within the framework of the Indian Constitution. In November 2009, in order to speed up the peace process, the Government appointed P C Haldar as Interlocutor/Government of India’s Representative to negotiate with the UPDS for addressing their grievances. After several rounds of discussions, negotiating team comprising the Representatives of Government of Assam, Ministry of Home Affairs and UPDS finalised the tripartite agreement, which was signed recently.

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