Ladakh’s Demand for Sixth Schedule Status

GS-2 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes

Question : Analyze the benefits of Ladakh’s Sixth Schedule inclusion, including the creation of ADCs with powers over land use, agriculture, and village administration, and the potential for greater autonomy in development decisions and resource control.

The Sixth Schedule

  • Article 244 of the Indian Constitution allows for the creation of Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in areas with tribal populations.
  • These ADCs have the power to make laws on matters like land, public health, and agriculture.
  • Currently, four states (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram) have ADCs under the Sixth Schedule.

Ladakh’s Demands

  • Ladakh, a UT with a population of 2.74 lakh (2011 Census), seeks Sixth Schedule inclusion.
  • After J&K’s special status revocation (2019), Ladakh became a UT without a Legislative Assembly.
  • Ladakhis fear for their land, resources, employment, and cultural identity due to:
    • Bureaucratic overreach
    • Uncontrolled development projects (tourism, mining, industrialization)
    • Potential environmental damage

Benefits of Sixth Schedule Inclusion

  • Creation of ADCs in Ladakh:
    • Elected bodies with power over land use, agriculture, village administration, etc.
    • Greater autonomy for Ladakhis in development decisions and resource control
  • Existing Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) could:
    • Regulate land use, minerals, tourism, and development activities.

Challenges and Considerations

  • Granting special rights to one group can lead to demands from others, potentially causing inter-group conflict.
  • ADCs might weaken traditional tribal structures led by chiefs and headmen.
  • Some ADCs have faced criticism regarding:
    • Lack of transparency
    • Corruption and misuse of funds

Government’s Stance

  • The government highlights existing efforts to support Ladakh’s development.
  • Sixth Schedule might not be necessary as the UT administration already addresses tribal welfare.


  • The Sixth Schedule aims to protect tribal rights and culture.
  • Discussions are needed to find a solution that safeguards Ladakh’s unique identity, ecology, and strategic importance.


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