Union Cabinet approves amendment to article 280 to strengthen northeast autonomous councils

The Union cabinet has approved the landmark amendment to Article 280 of the Constitution to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the Northeast Region (NER). The amendment would impact a population of about 1 crore tribals living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils. Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects. As per the proposed amendment, there will be State Election Commissions (SECs) for holding elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. At least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. Here, Meghalaya has for the time being opted out of the provision for elected village and municipal councils and one-third reservation for women.

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