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Assam-Arunachal Pradesh Border Dispute

Context:

Arunachal Pradesh, which was earlier a part of Assam, shares a boundary of roughly 800 km with the state—with frequent flare-ups reported along the border since the 1990s..

  • While the flashpoint this time was the ongoing construction of the Likabali-Durpai road being built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh dates back to colonial times.
Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Inter-State Relations)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Bone of contention: 1951
  2. Efforts at demarcation
  3. Flashpoints
  4. Likabali- Durbai road
  5. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

Bone of contention: 1951

  • Arunachal Pradesh, which was earlier a part of Assam, shares a boundary of roughly 800 km with the state—with frequent flare-ups reported along the border since the 1990s.
  • The dispute dates back to colonial times, when the British in 1873 announced the “inner line” regulation, demarcating an imaginary boundary between plains and the frontier hills, which were later designated as the North East Frontier Tracts in 1915.
  • The latter corresponds to the area that makes up present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
  • After Independence, the Assam government assumed administrative jurisdiction over the North East Frontier Tracts, which later became the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954, and finally, the Union Territory (UT) of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972. It gained statehood in 1987.
  • However, before it was carved out of Assam, a sub-committee headed by then Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi made some recommendations in relation to the administration of NEFA (under Assam) and submitted a report in 1951.
  • Based on the Bordoloi committee report, around 3,648 sq km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills was transferred from Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA) to Assam’s then Darrang and Lakhimpur districts.
  • Arunachal Pradesh has long held that the transfer was done without the consultation of its people.
  • They said, It was arbitrary, defective, and no tribal leader from Arunachal Pradesh was consulted before the land was transferred. They just decided to draw a line between the hills and plains
  • Arunachal had customary rights over these lands, considering the tribes living there would pay taxes to Ahom rulers.
  • Assam, on the other hand, feels that this demarcation as per 1951 notification is constitutional and legal.

Efforts at demarcation

  • The border issues came to the fore after Arunachal Pradesh became a UT in 1972.
  • Between 1971 and 1974, there were multiple efforts to demarcate the boundary but it did not work out.
  • In April 1979, a high-powered tripartite committee was constituted to delineate the boundary on the basis of Survey of India maps, as well as discussions with both sides.
  • By 1983-84, out of the 800 km, 489 km, mostly in the north bank of the Brahmaputra, were demarcated. However, further demarcation could not commence because Arunachal Pradesh did not accept the recommendations, and claimed several kilometres out of the 3,648 sq km that was transferred as per the 1951 notification.
  • Assam objected and filed a case in the Supreme Court in 1989, highlighting an “encroachment” made by Arunachal Pradesh.
  • To resolve the dispute between the two states, the apex court-appointed a local boundary commission in 2006, headed by a retired SC judge.
  • In September 2014, the local commission submitted its report. Several recommendations were made (some of which suggested Arunachal Pradesh get back some of the territory which was transferred in 1951), and it was suggested that both states should arrive at a consensus through discussions. .

Flashpoints:

  • According to a 2008 research paper from the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, clashes were first reported in 1992 when the Arunachal Pradesh state government alleged that people from Assam were “building houses, markets and even police stations on its territory”.
  • Since then intermittent clashes have been taking place, making the border tense.
  • Another paper by the same institute in 2020 said that Assam had raised the issue of Arunachal Pradesh encroaching on its forest land, and had periodically launched eviction drives, leading to tensions on the ground.
  • One was in 2005 in Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district and the other in 2014 in the Behali Reserve Forest area, in the foothills between Assam’s Sonitpur and Arunachal’s Papumpare districts.

Likabali- Durbai road:

  • The recent flashpoint is the ongoing Likabali-Durpai  PMGSY road project in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Siang district—Assam claims that some parts of the road, under construction since 2019, falls under its Dhemaji district.
  • The road, about 65 km to 70 km, is meant to connect at least 24 villages between Arunachal Pradesh’s Durpai and Likabali and has been granted after years of petitioning by local residents.
  • Likabali is one of the oldest towns in the foothills and has long been a site of dispute.
  • Recently, a culvert under construction close to Hime, one of the villages through which the road runs, was burnt by “unidentified miscreants from the Assam side.
  • Following that, there were unconfirmed reports of “firing in the air” by local residents from the Arunachal Pradesh side as touching disputed territory.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages.
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was introduced in 2000.
  • The PMGSY is under the authority of the Ministry of Rural Development.

PMGSY – Phase I

PMGSY – Phase I was launched in 2000 as a 100 % centrally sponsored scheme with an objective to provide single all-weather road connectivity to eligible unconnected habitation of designated population size for overall socio-economic development of the areas.

PMGSY – Phase II

  • The Phase II of PMGSY was approved in 2013, and while the ongoing PMGSY – I continued – under PMGSY phase II, the roads already built for village connectivity was to be upgraded to enhance rural infrastructure.
  • For the 12th Five Year Plan period a target of 50,000 Km length under PMGSY-II. 75 per cent of the cost of the upgradation was by the Centre and 25 per cent by the state.
  • For hill states, desert areas, Schedule V areas and Naxal-affected districts, 90 per cent of cost was borne by the Centre.

PMGSY – Phase III

  • The Phase III was approved by the Cabinet in 2019.
  • It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
  • Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States, and the duration of the scheme is 2019-20 to 2024-25.
  • The funds would be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.

-Source: Indian Express


Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)


The Development & Monitoring Evaluation Office of NITI Aayog has evaluated the centrally sponsored schemes of Ministry of Women & Child Development including PMMVY and its recommendations have been considered.

  • Accordingly, it is envisaged that the written consent and the aadhaar of husband not to be a mandatory criteria in the modified guidelines of PMMVY component under Mission Shakti in order to facilitate inclusion of single mother and abandoned mother.
Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Women and Health, Government Initiatives and Policies, Welfare Schemes)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)
  2. Concerns with PMMVY
  3. Way Forward

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 2017.
  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme being executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Under PMMVY Cash benefits are provided to pregnant women in their bank account directly to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss.
  • All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), (excluding those who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits) who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 for the first child in the family – are the beneficiaries targeted by the scheme.
  • Beneficiaries receive a cash benefit of Rs. 5,000 in three installments on fulfilling the following conditions:
    • Early registration of pregnancy
    • Ante-natal check-up
    • Registration of the birth of the child and completion of first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.
  • Implementation of the scheme is closely monitored by the central and state governments through the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – Common Application Software (PMMVY-CAS).

Concerns with PMMVY

  • Poor Performance: The scheme’s performance has been poor, forcing an immediate need for improvement.
  • Exclusion of beneficiaries: The Government of India’s yearly estimate of the intended recipients has remained consistent throughout time. Because the objective has stayed constant throughout time, it barely covers 40% of the eligible population.
  • Expenditure Deficit: According to data published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, enrolment and payouts under the plan have decreased in the previous two years.
  • Improper Implementation: More than half of registered beneficiaries did not receive all three installments in 2020-21, resulting in a 9% decline in participation in the plan.

Way Forward

  • PMMVY maternity benefits ca be extended to the second live birth and all live births can be included in the maternity benefit coverage – to increase the benefit coverage – especially for women in the unorganized sector who are more vulnerable to economic shocks and nutrition loss.
  • Since the PMMVY’s principal goal is to give partial salary compensation – the amount of the maternity benefits can be examined for a consideration of an increase.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should get 12 weeks of pay compensation totaling to Rs. 15,000 in accordance with the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which stipulates 12 weeks of maternity leave for women with two or more children.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB

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