National Conference on Autonomy and Development

Organizer: Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia- New Delhi – 110 025

About the Conference

  • When: 2-3 November 2022
  • Call for Abstracts
  • Only the shortlisted abstracts will be contacted to develop original papers

We invite extended abstract (summary of proposed paper) of 500 words on the above-mentioned themes on or before June 30, 2022, which may be submitted to


Autonomy has become an integral part of federal governance in India. There is also an emergent interest in the study of autonomy today, and hence it is important to understand its functioning. In India, such autonomy is granted, usually at the district level, in areas having significant tribal population.

Now, the district level autonomy in Northeast India is known by varying official names, such as, autonomous district council, territorial council, territorial administration or territorial region. This kind of autonomy under the Sixth Schedule was initially introduced in the hill districts of then undivided Assam in response to demands for separate states. This autonomy arrangement has so far acted as an institution of local governance to fulfill political aspirations and development needs of different tribal communities. In due course of time, more district level autonomous bodies have been constituted to cover more areas having significant tribal population with varying powers and functions.

Till date, the provision of the Sixth Schedule has been amended several times. In addition, there is a similar autonomy arrangement established through different state legislations. Thus, there are altogether twenty-two autonomous areas in different northeastern states in which ten of them are operating under the Sixth Schedule.

Such autonomy operates entirely under the concerned state governments where there is certain amount of demarcation of powers between the state governments and the autonomous bodies. Thus some departments of the state governments are delegated to the autonomous bodies. But, the state governments continue to control key departments such as General Administration, Police, Treasury, Election and Judiciary.

Autonomy is aimed at accelerating development works of the areas having significant tribal population. But, it is not clear how autonomy has been able to facilitate development of the areas having significant tribal population.

We found that the role of autonomy in tribal development has not received sufficient attention from the academics and public policy groups. Thus, the broad aim of seminar is to examine the roles and significance of autonomy in fulfilling political aspirations and development of the tribes of Northeast India. With this in mind, the conference intends to focus on the following themes:

  • working, challenges, and public perceptions of autonomy in Northeast India;
  • development works undertaken by the autonomous district councils, territorial council, or territorial administration; and
  • policy recommendations

At the practical level, the outcome of the seminar will help develop accurate and reliable information and provide the policy-makers with information that will allow them to implement more effective programmes.

For more information:
Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research
India-Arab Cultural building
Jamia Millia Islamia
New Delhi – 110 025

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