Clause 6 of Assam Accord 

#GS2 #Governance 

In February, a government-appointed committee had submitted its recommendations for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, a key provision that has been contentious for decades. Since then, the government has not made the report public. 

What is ‘Assam Accord’?

  • The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985. 
  • The accord brought an end to the Assam Agitation and paved the way for the leaders of the agitation to form a political party and form a government in the state of Assam soon after. 
  • Some of the key demands were – All those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote. Those who had done so after 1971 were to be deported; the entrants between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship. 
  • A parallel package for the economic development of Assam, including a second oil refinery, a paper mill and an institute of technology, was also worked out. 
  • The central government also promised to provide ‘legislative and administrative safeguards to protect the cultural, social, and linguistic identity and heritage’ of the Assamese people. This is the Clause 6 of Assam Accord. 

What is Clause 6? 

  • Part of the Assam Accord that came at the culmination of a movement against immigration from Bangladesh, Clause 6 reads: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.” 
  • For recognition as citizens, the Accord sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff. The immigrants up to the cutoff date would get all rights as Indian citizens. Therefore, Clause 6 was inserted to safeguard the socio-political rights and culture of the “indigenous people of Assam”. 

Why it is in news? 

  • Several committees have been set up over the years to make recommendations on implementation of Clause 6. None of them made headway on the provision’s contentious issues, however, until the latest one that was set up by the Home Ministry in 2019. 
  • Following widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in December and January, the government gave an urgent push to Clause 6 to pacify the Assamese community. 
  • Headed by retired High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma and including members of the legal fraternity, retired civil servants, scholars, journalists and AASU office-bearers, the committee was asked to fast-track its report. 
  • It submitted its report in February but the government did not make its contents public. Nilay Dutta and three AASU members independently made the contents public recently. 

Recommendations of the Committee  

  • Its brief was to define the “Assamese people” and suggest measures for the safeguard of their rights. The definition of “Assamese people” has been a subject of discussion for decades. The committee has proposed that the following be considered Assamese people for the purpose of Clause 6 – 

All citizens of India who are part of  

  • Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or 
  • Any indigenous tribal community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or 
  • Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or 
  • All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; and 
  • Descendants of the above categories. 
  • Why 1951? 
  • During the Assam agitation, the demand was for detection and deportation of migrants who had illegally entered Assam after 1951. 
  • The Assam Accord, however, set the cutoff at March 24, 1971. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated based on this cutoff. 
  • Clause 6 is meant to give the Assamese people certain safeguards, which would not be available to migrants between 1951 and 1971. 
  • If the recommendation is accepted, those who migrated between 1951 and 1971 would be Indian citizens under the Assam Accord and NRC, but they would not be eligible for safeguards meant for “Assamese people”. 

Mount Sinabung 

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung volcano erupted recently, sending a column of ash and smoke more than 16,000 feet into the air. The volcano became active in 2010, erupting after nearly 400 years of inactivity. 

Ring of Fire  

  • Indonesia is home to many active volcanoes, due to its position on the “Ring of Fire”, or the Circum-Pacific Belt, which is an area along the Pacific Ocean characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The Ring of Fire is home to about 75 per cent of the world’s volcanoes and about 90 per cent of its earthquakes. 

Why do volcanoes erupt? 

  • A volcano can be active, dormant or extinct. An eruption takes place when magma (a thick flowing substance), formed when the earth’s mantle melts, rises to the surface. Because magma is lighter than solid rock, it is able to rise through vents and fissures on the surface of the earth. After it has erupted, it is called lava. 
  • Not all volcanic eruptions are explosive, since explosivity depends on the composition of the magma. 
  • When the magma is runny and thin, gases can easily escape it, in which case, the magma will flow out towards the surface. 
  • On the other hand, if the magma is thick and dense, gases cannot escape it, which builds up pressure inside until the gases escape in a violent explosion. 

National Infrastructure Pipeline 

Union Finance Minister has launched the online dashboard for National Infrastructure Pipeline, which will be hosted by the India Investment Grid (IIG). 

What is ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ (NIP)? 

NIP is a first-of-its-kind, whole-of-government exercise to provide world-class infrastructure across the country, and improve the quality of life for all citizens. 

NIP will enable a forward outlook on infrastructure projects which will create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all, thereby making growth more inclusive.  

It aims to improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic and foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025. 

The NIP has been made on a best effort basis by aggregating the information provided by various stakeholders including line ministries, departments, state governments and private sector across infrastructure sub-sectors identified in the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure. 

To draw up the NIP, a bottom-up approach was adopted wherein all projects (Greenfield or Brownfield, Under Implementation or under conceptualisation) costing greater than Rs 100 crore per project were sought to be captured. 

The Centre (39%) and States (40%) are expected to have almost equal share in implementing the NIP in India, followed by the private sector (21%). 

Task Force on NIP – 

The Final Report of NIP Task Force (chaired by Atanu Chakraborty) projected total infrastructure investment of Rs 111 lakh crore during the period FY 2020-25. 

Sectors such as energy (24%), roads (18%), urban (17%) and railways (12%) amount to around 71% of the projected infrastructure investments in India. 

Out of the total expected capital expenditure of Rs. 111 lakh crore, projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore (40% of NIP) are under implementation, projects worth Rs 33 lakh crore (30%) are at conceptual stage and projects worth Rs 22 lakh crore (20%) are under development Information regarding project stage are unavailable for projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore (10%). 

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