Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Inner Line Permit (ILP) | Manipur, J&K, Meghalaya

Why in news?


  1. Manipur has been on the boil for nearly a week over the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenant and Migrant Workers’ Bill, 2015
    1. The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), that is leading the protests has demanded that the government introduce ILP instead
    2. The protests had turned violent after a 16-year-old school student was killed when police teargassed a gathering (July 2015)
    3. For Full Issue of Manipur - Click Here
  2. The Jammu and Kashmir government batted strongly for extending the inner line permit, a necessary document for visiting Ladakh region, for foreign tourists despite concerns expressed by the army. (March 2015)
About ILP:
  • ILP is a type of certificate/paper, a 'quasi-visa' needed by outsiders to travel to Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Even Indian citizens travelling to these places, need an ILP.
    • Exemption: Central govt employees, security personnel, 
  • First time the provision was made by Britishers under Bengal Frontier Provision Act,1873 - Introduced to protect tribal populations from encroachment into their areas, but later used to advance commercial interests, involves a system akin to the issue of visas to Indian citizens to enter a State of the Union.
Impact of ILP:
  • It is like a used only for travel purposes 
    • It is not used for permanent residency in that area.
  • An outsider cannot take away any rubber, wax, ivory or other forest product (or any book, diary, manuscript, map, picture, photograph, film, curio or article of religious or scientific interest outside these inner line permit areas.
  • Outsiders cannot buy property or do inter-caste marriages in the state, where ILP is required


History of ILP demand in Manipur:


  • Manipur, being a Princely state, had its own system of permits and passports, which was abolished in 1951
  • In 2012, Manipur State Assembly passed a resolution asking GoI to introduce the ILP system
  • There is an organization called Federation of Regional Indigenous Societies (FRIENDS) demanding the same.
  • July 2015 - The ongoing campaign for implementation of (ILP) in Manipur is threatening to escalate into a major turmoil with more and more indigenous people joining the agitation.

Why is the demand being raised again?
  • Competition from non-meitis
    • in education, jobs (as they are ready to work at lower wages), infrastructure, etc 
  • Change is electoral politics
  • Challenge to quota system
  • Threat to Manipuri culture - language, scripts, value system, etc.
  • Increase in crimes like trafficking. rape, etc.
  • Increasing diseases like HIV 
  • Land encroachment by non-tribals and Bangladeshis -  fear of losing ancestral land to “outsiders”
    • The demand is sought to be substantiated by citing many examples that indicate how Manipuris are losing land to “extractive” non-Manipuri industries
    • The leasing out of “one-sixth of the total area” of Manipur for oil exploration and drilling to international oil majors, unthinkable in the other States, is one of many such examples. 
    • In this backdrop, a half-baked Bill was passed, that exacerbated the insecurity. 
  • The demand, though, is more legitimately a consequence of the hill-valley divide in the State and the congestion in the valley rather than any huge influx of outsiders
  • Details: The 2001 Census revealed that nearly 1/3of Manipur’s population was made up of migrant workers, nearly the same as Meiteis, the state’s dominant community. 
    • Local groups have argued that in the absence of legal measures, Manipur could go the Tripura way, where the indigenous tribes have been reduced to a minority. 
      • The population of all tribes put together was 6.71 lakh. The Muslims, who have been settled in Manipur since 1606, had a population of 1.67 lakh. The State’s population has grown to 27.22 lakh, according to the 2011 Census. The government has not released the community-wise break up for obvious reasons. 
Why it shouldn't be given?
  • ILP is just for identification of outsiders, such problems won't stop after introducing ILP!
  • Actual reasons for their backwardness is low education, etc, and not outsiders,
  • If this demand is given, nearly all states will raise similar demand (e.g. Maharashtra) - harming national integration and unity
  • Does the solution lie in the ILP, a colonial-era permit system introduced to protect the empire’s interests?
    • Instruments like the ILP are intended to keep people, commodities and even capital outside the inner line limit. 
    • These have stunted the growth and diversification of the local economy. 
    • The land-locked northeast was once seen as the frontier, but could now be seen as India’s gateway to Southeast Asia. 
    • As a trading hub, Manipur could benefit immensely from integration with the better developed markets in its west and east. 
  • At this historical juncture, Manipur should not seek closed borders but insist on open boundaries, better connectivity and a clear policy on resource-sharing and deployment. This could surely be done without compromising the rights and entitlements of the local population.


Jammu and Kashmir:
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government batted strongly for extending the inner line permit, a necessary document for visiting Ladakh region, for foreign tourists.
    • The reasons for restrictions for these areas to foreign tourists is that they fall in northern border districts of J&K and are covered by the Protected Area Regime under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958.
  • The Army had expressed concerns over allowing foreign tourists to visit these protected areas.


Meghalaya:
  • They already have strict provisions to prohibit outsiders from buying property and contractors employing >5 immigrant workers need to register with the state
  • The government created a committee under its Deputy CM to recommend steps on how to go about ILP in Meghalaya.
  • Though the Meghalaya State Legislative Assembly rejected demand of ILP
[Sources: Economic Times, Indian Express, The Hindu, Wikipedia]

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