NEW DELHI: Ladakh may be declared as a tribal area under the Sixth schedule of the Constitution, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) recommended on Wednesday.
The Commission met officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) in order to discuss if Ladakh should be declared as a tribal area. This was the first in a series of meetings that the Commission will hold to decide on the issue.
“The NCST has recommended that Ladakh may be declared as a tribal area under the Sixth schedule. The Commission is of the view that this would help empower the people in the region. We deliberated on the issue along with ministry officials,” said Nand Kumar Sai, NCST chairperson.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice along with MoTA will consider the different legal provisions on the issue. The Commission will meet the ministry officials again on this. Following this, a final decision would be reached on the status of the union territory of Ladakh,” said Sai.
Sixth schedule currently applies to the provisions to the administrations of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Under the Sixth schedule, there are the constitution of district councils and regional councils with the Constitution making special provisions for the administration of the tribal-dominated areas in the four states.
BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal from Ladakh had recently submitted a memorandum to Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda that Ladakh should be declared as a tribal area as it would help the people in the region preserve their cultural identity. Ladakh is predominantly a tribal area with tribals comprising 98 per cent of the population, he had said.
A senior NCST official had earlier said the Commission would also push for the declaration of the UT of Lakshadweep with 94.80 per cent as a tribal area. However, currently the focus is on Ladakh and other UTs are not under consideration, the official said on Wednesday.