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Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari, at the release of the book ‘State, Policy and Conflicts in Northeast India’



Remarks by Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari, at the release of the book ‘State, Policy and Conflicts in Northeast India’ 

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said there is a need to take a serious look at the politico-administrative arrangements, including the role of the Sixth Schedule Autonomous Councils in the North Eastern Region (NER). Addressing the gathering after releasing the book ‘State, Policy and Conflicts in Northeast India’, written by Dr. K.S. Subramanian, here today, Shri M. Hamid Ansari said we have to see if such arrangements have provided for a genuine empowerment and democratization of the communities in the region or have merely created multiple power centers. There is also a need to support, facilitate and contribute to civil society engagement, participation and intervention in the region with regard to conflict prevention for facilitating intermediation between the various stakeholders, he added. 


Following is the text of the Vice President’s address on the occasion: 

“Some years back, writing on the rapid pace of political, economic and social developments in our North-East, Sanjoy Hazarika described it as "one thousand years in a lifetime". He spoke of the despair of the people who felt “overwhelmed at not being able to control them.”

The North Eastern region of India has been described as an anthropologist’s delight and an administrator’s nightmare. Dealing with such a region was always going to be hard. There are many truths here, conflicting realities, especially in terms of perceptions. Indeed, it is these differing perceptions that lie at the root of most conflicts in the region.

One manifestation of this distinctiveness is the persistence of what has been called, insurgencies. The Institute for Conflict Management, a think-tank, lists 26 active armed groups in the region, and ten organisations proscribed by India’s Home Ministry. There are armed separatists in five of the seven North Eastern states. The seriousness of the threats posed by them is evident from the fact that two Corps of the Indian Army are deployed in the area in addition to Assam Rifles and various paramilitary forces.

On the eve of our independence, the present States of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram constituted a district each of Assam, whereas Arunachal Pradesh, (then NEFA), consisted of several ‘frontier tracts’ administered by the Governor of Assam. The States of Manipur and Tripura were princely States which, after merger with India in 1948, became part ‘C’ States, the earlier name for Union Territories.

Recognising the significant difference in the way of life and administrative set up of the North Eastern region from the rest of the country, the Constitution provides for special institutional arrangements for the tribal areas in the region, giving them a high degree of self governance through autonomous District Councils under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Sixth Schedule was a path-breaking effort to give small tribal communities, disadvantaged by lack of opportunity — educational, political and numerical —powers through the system of autonomous district councils and protect their traditions, their way of life and their traditional livelihood.

To an extent, these laws have worked. But there have been other repercussions, including inadequate development, a multiplicity of authority and, in some cases, majoritarian groups applied pressure on small ethnic groups within their territories, depriving them of the very rights for which the structure was created.

Dr. Subramanian’s book is focused on areas of state failure. He delves on specific case studies and the manner in which they have failed to fulfill the tasks entrusted to them. The net result, in each case, is alienation and public distress. The challenge to the Indian State, he concludes, is ‘the need to reconcile national and regional aspirations for justice and a better quality of life.’ For this to become a reality, structural reforms as well as a change in attitude is essential.

We therefore have to take a serious look at the politico-administrative arrangements, including the role of the Sixth Schedule Autonomous Councils and see if they have provided for a genuine empowerment and democratization of the communities in the region or have merely created multiple power centers.

There is also a need to support, facilitate and contribute to civil society engagement, participation, and intervention in the region with regard to conflict prevention for facilitating intermediation between the various stakeholders be it the public, civil society activists, state representatives, journalists, academicians and researchers; and for promoting integration and socialization of all stakeholders into a democratic political culture through dialogue and civic education.

This book does that and more. Dr. K.S. Subramanian is uniquely equipped to write this book as he was both eyewitness to and actor in the conflicts in Northeast India and the State’s response to them. His book is more than an insider exposé. It is an account of events and state policies as they played out in specific cases as well as a constructive criticism of those polices that the author was privy to, both in formulation and in their implementation.

The book examines the role of state in conflict resolution, including the issue of the State response either being inadequate or untimely or being insensitive and in turn exacerbating the problem. This analysis is of extreme value in evaluating how the government policies of dealing with the conflict have fared – and draw lessons in terms of what went wrong and how those gaps should be remedied.

The book is timely. I felicitate the author for writing it.”
Remarks by Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari, at the release of the book ‘State, Policy and Conflicts in Northeast India’ 
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said there is a need to take a serious look at the politico-administrative arrangements, including the role of the Sixth Schedule Autonomous Councils in the North Eastern Region (NER). Addressing the gathering after releasing the book ‘State, Policy and Conflicts in Northeast India’, written by Dr. K.S. Subramanian, here today, Shri M. Hamid Ansari said we have to see if such arrangements have provided for a genuine empowerment and democratization of the communities in the region or have merely created multiple power centers. There is also a need to support, facilitate and contribute to civil society engagement, participation and intervention in the region with regard to conflict prevention for facilitating intermediation between the various stakeholders, he added.

Following is the text of the Vice President’s address on the occasion: 

“Some years back, writing on the rapid pace of political, economic and social developments in our North-East, Sanjoy Hazarika described it as "one thousand years in a lifetime". He spoke of the despair of the people who felt “overwhelmed at not being able to control them.”

The North Eastern region of India has been described as an anthropologist’s delight and an administrator’s nightmare. Dealing with such a region was always going to be hard. There are many truths here, conflicting realities, especially in terms of perceptions. Indeed, it is these differing perceptions that lie at the root of most conflicts in the region.

One manifestation of this distinctiveness is the persistence of what has been called, insurgencies. The Institute for Conflict Management, a think-tank, lists 26 active armed groups in the region, and ten organisations proscribed by India’s Home Ministry. There are armed separatists in five of the seven North Eastern states. The seriousness of the threats posed by them is evident from the fact that two Corps of the Indian Army are deployed in the area in addition to Assam Rifles and various paramilitary forces.

On the eve of our independence, the present States of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram constituted a district each of Assam, whereas Arunachal Pradesh, (then NEFA), consisted of several ‘frontier tracts’ administered by the Governor of Assam. The States of Manipur and Tripura were princely States which, after merger with India in 1948, became part ‘C’ States, the earlier name for Union Territories.

Recognising the significant difference in the way of life and administrative set up of the North Eastern region from the rest of the country, the Constitution provides for special institutional arrangements for the tribal areas in the region, giving them a high degree of self governance through autonomous District Councils under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Sixth Schedule was a path-breaking effort to give small tribal communities, disadvantaged by lack of opportunity — educational, political and numerical —powers through the system of autonomous district councils and protect their traditions, their way of life and their traditional livelihood.

To an extent, these laws have worked. But there have been other repercussions, including inadequate development, a multiplicity of authority and, in some cases, majoritarian groups applied pressure on small ethnic groups within their territories, depriving them of the very rights for which the structure was created.

Dr. Subramanian’s book is focused on areas of state failure. He delves on specific case studies and the manner in which they have failed to fulfill the tasks entrusted to them. The net result, in each case, is alienation and public distress. The challenge to the Indian State, he concludes, is ‘the need to reconcile national and regional aspirations for justice and a better quality of life.’ For this to become a reality, structural reforms as well as a change in attitude is essential.

We therefore have to take a serious look at the politico-administrative arrangements, including the role of the Sixth Schedule Autonomous Councils and see if they have provided for a genuine empowerment and democratization of the communities in the region or have merely created multiple power centers.

There is also a need to support, facilitate and contribute to civil society engagement, participation, and intervention in the region with regard to conflict prevention for facilitating intermediation between the various stakeholders be it the public, civil society activists, state representatives, journalists, academicians and researchers; and for promoting integration and socialization of all stakeholders into a democratic political culture through dialogue and civic education.

This book does that and more. Dr. K.S. Subramanian is uniquely equipped to write this book as he was both eyewitness to and actor in the conflicts in Northeast India and the State’s response to them. His book is more than an insider exposé. It is an account of events and state policies as they played out in specific cases as well as a constructive criticism of those polices that the author was privy to, both in formulation and in their implementation.

The book examines the role of state in conflict resolution, including the issue of the State response either being inadequate or untimely or being insensitive and in turn exacerbating the problem. This analysis is of extreme value in evaluating how the government policies of dealing with the conflict have fared – and draw lessons in terms of what went wrong and how those gaps should be remedied.

The book is timely. I felicitate the author for writing it.”

*********
“NCC gives children a sense of achievement”: Vice President Shri M. Hamid Ansari 
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari today encouraged more youth and children to join the NCC. Inaugurating the NCC Republic Day Camp in Delhi Cantt., Shri M. Hamid Ansari said the NCC helps mould young people into robust, resilient and responsible adults. He also hoped that parents will encourage their children’s participation in NCC as the many healthy and meaningful activities will keep young people gainfully occupied and give them a sense of achievement.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address on the occasion:

“It is my pleasure to visit the NCC Camp this morning to unfurl the NCC flag.

National Cadet Corps (NCC), the Tri-Services Organisation comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force wings, has been engaged in grooming our youth – ‘The Leaders of Tomorrow’ – into disciplined and patriotic citizens. Its mission, since its inception in 1948, has been to complement the academic education of student cadets and help develop them into resourceful, resilient, responsible and loyal citizens of tomorrow.

To this end, the NCC has always provided a wide range of learning and training activities for its cadets. These include weapons training, drill, field craft, map-reading, camping, self-defence and civil defence programme. In addition, NCC Sea cadets have training in seamanship, sailing and scuba diving, while NCC Air cadets receive training in flying and aero-modelling. The cadets have the option of attending mountaineering courses and glider courses.

That is a long list of exciting activities that would appeal to many young people’s sense of adventure. In the course of these activities, cadets learn values such as courage, discipline, confidence, and respect for authority.

They also find opportunities for interaction and cooperation, especially when working collectively on joint projects and activities. These activities provide much room for character development, leadership training and building esprit de corps.

The NCC, with its motto of Ekta aur Anushasan (Unity and Discipline) has been providing our young people with opportunities for self-development and avenues to fulfill their potential for growth. In so doing, NCC is playing an important role in shaping the character and moral fibre of our people, and ultimately the effectiveness and dynamism of the nation.

I am told that the total number of NCC cadets stands at about 13,00,000. I would like to encourage more young people to join the NCC get the benefit of an educational experience that facilitates character building and helps mould young people into robust, resilient and responsible adults. I also hope that parents will encourage their children’s participation in NCC as the many healthy and meaningful activities will keep young people gainfully occupied, and give them a sense of achievement. Indeed those who are keen on challenge, adventure and growth need look no further than what NCC can offer them.

I congratulate all of you on this smart turnout and display and I wish the NCC every success.” 
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