Ladakh council demands reviewing schemes planned by administration

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Ladakh council demands reviewing schemes planned by administration

  • The Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Council (LAHDC) has demanded that schemes sanctioned by the Union Territory of Ladakh under the Special Development Package (SDP) must be first reviewed by the council to ensure that the genuine demands of the people are fulfilled.
  • LAHDC Chairperson Tashi Gyalson demanded additional allocation of ₹300 crore under the SDP so that councillors were able to fulfil “public demands”.

Why this demand?

  • In 2021, Ladakh had shut down after civil society groups and councillors demanded Statehood for the newly created Union Territory.
  • The groups said they felt disempowered due to bureaucratic overreach after Ladakh became a Union Territory in August 2019.
  • The special status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was read down by Parliament and the erstwhile State was split into two Union Territories — Ladakh and J&K.
  • The total budget allocated for the council in the fiscal year 2022-23 is ₹233 crore and the total budget for Ladakh in the fiscal year 2022-23 is ₹5,958 crore.
  • Also, Union government had allotted ₹3,000 crore under the SDP for Ladakh but the plan formulation was carried out by bureaucrats who hardly consulted the councillors.
  • Many projects planned by the bureaucrats have not seen the light of the day and they do not reflect the genuine demands of the peopleand so it is demanded that the projects should be vetted by the council members first

About Ladakh

  • Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and is the highest plateau in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, with most of it being over 9,800 feet above sea level.
  • The Ladakh has a population of 1.33 lakh.
  • The biggest ethnic group is Buddhist having 77.30% of the population followed by Muslims with 13.78% and Hindus with 8.16%.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997
  • Under the Act, the Hill Development Councils were established both for Leh and Kargil Districts.
  • An order to strengthen the respective Hill Development Councils Leh and Kargil, the LAHDC Act, 1997 have been amended further in 2018 to give them more powers

About Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh

  • It is an autonomous district council that administers the Leh district of Ladakh.
  • The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995.
  • LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councillors are nominated by the government.
    • The executive arm of the council consists of an executive committee composed of a Chief Executive Councillor and four other executive councillors.
  • The autonomous hill council works with village panchayats to make decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxation, and local governance which are further reviewed at the block headquarters in the presence of the chief executive councillor and executive councillors.
    • The administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh looks after law and order, communications and higher education in the districts.
  • Leh, which is a Buddhist-dominated district of Ladakh, has demanded the implementation of the sixth schedule for the Union territory to guard against demographic change and dilution of the unique cultural and tribal identity.
  • The democratic constitution of the Council has heralded democratic decentralisation of the planning process with the involvement of people at the grass root level.
  • An Autonomous Hill Council has also been established in the neighboring Kargil District. The Hill Council in Kargil came into existence in July 2003.

Exam track

Prelims Takeaway

  • Location based questions
  • About Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh
  • Special Development Package (SDP)

Mains Track

Q. Ladakh is a strategically important Union Territory of India; however, it is not given the importance it deserves. Discuss in light of bureaucratic and other structural bottlenecks that are hindering the development of the region.