Demand for statehood by Ladakh

Demand for statehood by Ladakh

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of ”Demand for statehood by Ladakh”.This topic is relevant in the “Polity & Governance” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


Why in the News?

The Union Territory of Ladakh recently shut down due to demands for statehood and constitutional protection under the 6th Schedule.


What are their demands? 


  • Safeguards through the 6th Schedule: Advocating for constitutional safeguards to protect indigenous peoples’ cultural, linguistic, and territorial rights.


  • Campaigning for Ladakh’s Statehood: The goal is to elevate Ladakh from its current Union Territory status to that of a full-fledged state, giving it greater political autonomy and decision-making power.


  • Job Reservations: Calling for restricted employment opportunities for Ladakh’s young to enable equal access to economic resources and opportunity.


  • Separate Parliamentary seats: We propose creating separate Parliamentary seats for Leh and Kargil, taking into account each region’s distinctive demographic and geographical characteristics.




  • Ladakh, which was previously part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, became a Union Territory in August 2019 after Article 370 was repealed and the state was divided into two independent Union Territories.
  • Since then, the region has wrestled with its new administrative position, seeking for greater autonomy and the preservation of its cultural and demographic identity.


Reasons for Ladakh’s Interest in Sixth Schedule Inclusion:


Sense of Neglect: The predominantly Buddhist Leh district has long sought Union Territory status, feeling neglected by the previous Jammu and Kashmir state government, which was dominated by politicians from Kashmir and Jammu.


Limited Powers of Councils: The existing councils in Ladakh lack inclusion in the sixth schedule and have limited authority, primarily involving the collection of local taxes such as parking fees and land allotment vested by the central government.


UT Status without Legislature: Unlike the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh lacks a legislature. Despite having four MLAs in the former J&K assembly, the current administration is solely in the hands of bureaucrats, making the government seem more distant than Srinagar.


Concerns over Domicile Policy: Changes in the domicile policy in Jammu and Kashmir have sparked fears about Ladakh’s land, demography, and cultural identity. The removal of Article 35A, which protected the rights of permanent residents, has led to apprehensions about land transfer to non-tribals.


Impact of Article 370: Under Kashmir’s governance, Ladakh experienced a loss of development, political aspirations, identity, and language due to Article 370. The fear is that external forces may induce demographic changes and job losses for locals.


Administrative Challenges: The accountability of Ladakh’s Council officers to the central government hampers decision execution. Granting autonomy to the Council under the sixth schedule could resolve this issue.


Statehood Demand: A coalition of religious, social, and political representatives from Leh and Kargil is advocating for full statehood, surpassing the sixth schedule. They also seek protection for local land and job opportunities.


About 6th Schedule of the Constitution 



  • The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution outlines the administrative structure for specific regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, designating them as Autonomous Districts and Regions. This framework aims to protect the cultural, linguistic, and land rights of the indigenous populations in these areas. The Governor, under this schedule, has the authority to establish administrative centers and modify territorial boundaries within these autonomous regions.


  • Initially comprising two parts, the Sixth Schedule now encompasses ten regions spread across the four states. Each region has distinct legislative, executive, judicial, and financial powers. The key features of the Sixth Schedule include:
  1. Executive Functions: District and Regional Councils are responsible for overseeing the development and management of public amenities like schools, dispensaries, highways, and waterways. They also play a role in determining educational policies for primary schools.
  2. Legislative Functions: District Councils in autonomous regions have the authority to enact laws concerning land, forests, village administration, marriage, social norms, and more, subject to approval from the state governor.
  3. Judicial Functions: Council Courts handle disputes involving Scheduled Tribes within the district, with jurisdictional limitations on crimes punishable by death or a minimum five-year sentence.
  4. Financial Functions: District and Regional Councils are involved in formulating budgets, imposing taxes on businesses, trades, and goods, and granting permits for mineral mining within their jurisdiction.


  • The significance of the Sixth Schedule lies in providing a framework for the autonomous governance of tribal areas. It ensures the preservation of indigenous rights and cultures while facilitating local development and administration. Through its provisions, the Sixth Schedule aims to empower tribal communities by granting them legislative, executive, judicial, and financial autonomy within specified regions.

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 13th feb 2024


Prelims practice questions 


Q1) Consider the following statements: 

  1. The primary objective of the Sixth Schedule is to protect the minority languages
  2. Governor of the state appoints the tribal advisory councils in the Sixth Schedule areas
  3. Article 244 of the Constitution empowers the President to declare an area as a Scheduled Area

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None




Mains practice questions 


Q1) Explain the historical background and significance of the Sixth Schedule. How did it address the unique administrative needs of tribal areas in India?

Q2) Compare and contrast the provisions of the Sixth Schedule with those of the Fifth Schedule. Highlight the distinctive features that differentiate the administration of scheduled areas in these two schedules.

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