The Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly having adopted Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021 for recommendations on August 16, the aforementioned draft bill (numbering 42 pages) will be tabled in the upcoming Assembly session from August 20, 2021. Hill Areas committee (HAC) has 18 MLAs, including the chairman.
The bill essentially seeks to provide more autonomy to HAC and Autonomous Districts Councils (ADC) to function and exercise its powers. The bill, if passed as an Act will provide self-governance to special areas of the Hills Areas recognized under the provisions of the Constitution of India.
The bill, among many important features highlights:
- More autonomy to the Hill Areas Committee and the Autonomous Distirct Councils with regard to administration and management of Hill affairs of the State of Manipur.
- Under the provisions, increasing number of constituencies of the ADC.
- Creation of Hills Areas Secretariat: including monotering of works, reviewing and monitoring all projects undertaken by ADCs, budgetary allocation etc.
- Adjudication of election petition under the bill.
- Creation of ADC cabinet via Executive committee (members not exceeding 7).
- Hill House Tax under ADC.
- Involvement of HAC in economic and developmental planning such as budget planning and allocation under Manipur state Hill Areas.
According to a news report, Leishiyo Keishing, Chairman of the HAC while briefing media persons said that ADC under Article 371 C, which was incorporated in the Constitution after Manipur attained its Statehood in 1972. However since District Council Act was not prepared up to satisfaction under Article 371 C, the HAC unanimously formulated the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021 on August 16, he stated.
A report in The Frontier Manipur said that MLA Alfred Kan-Ngam Arthur asserted that unifying a state cannot be done through ’emotional integrity’ only. There has to be a basis of “fundamental, sustainable and consistent” growth. For this there has to be a firm law, he added. He further argued that the new Bill will enable all the people of the state to grow as one and enjoy the fruit of democracy.
MLA TN Haokip, who is also a member of HAC, in a news report maintained that the new Bill aims to bring more development and is for the betterment of the hill areas.