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Cabinet takes important decision; "Indigenous people can only sell land to Indigenous people," Himanta Biswa Sarma

Amid on-going protest against Citizenship Amendment Act, which was cleared by Parliament last session, Assam Cabinet on Saturday took significant steps to protect the rights of its indigenous people.

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sharma while briefing media about the cabinet decisions, listed the following..

1. Cabinet resolves that Government of India may, by amending Article 345 of Constitution of India, declare Assamese language as State language of Assam excluding Barak Valley, BTAD area and Hill districts.

2. Government of Assam will bring legislation in next Assembly Session making it mandatory that Assamese language should be taught as compulsory subject in all English and other medium schools. However, this law will not apply for Hill district, BTAD, Bodo dominated areas and Barak Valley.

3. Cabinet resolves that all Tribal Autonomous Councils, namely, Mising Rabha, Sonowal Kachari, Thengal Kachari, Deori, Tiwa may be granted Constitutional status so that they can receive fund from both Central and State governments including other rights and privileges.

4. The CEM of all tribal autonomous councils will be ex- officio members of Sub-divisions Land Advisory Committee of Sub-divisions within their territorial jurisdiction.

5. A new autonomous council for Koch Rajbongshi community (Kamatapur Autonomous Council) residing in original Goalpara district excluding BTAD and Sabha Hasong area will be constituted.

6. Similarly, two new Autonomous Councils for Moran and Mattak communities will be created.

7. The birthday of Sati Sadhini (7 bohag) will be declared as state holiday.

8. A new State University with name Sati Sadhini Rajyik Vishwavidyalaya will be set up in Golaghat district.

9. Two new medical colleges will be established, one in Biswanath district and one in suitable location in Sivasagar or Charaideo district.

10. Bajali Sub-division will be upgraded into a district.

11. Rs 500 cr special package announced in Budget for Moran, Mattak, Chutiya, and Ahom communities will be divided equally and each community will get Re 125 cr.

12. Tai Ahom Development Council, Chutiya Development Council and Koch Rajbongshi Development Council will be restructured with substantial budget allocations. Re 250 cr will be granted to Tai Ahom Development Council for this and other councils as per need.

13. Medical, engineering, agriculture and veterinary science and seats in universities will be specifically reserved for Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbonghshi and Chutiya communities. Health & Family Welfare Department, Higher Education Department, Agriculture Department and Animal Husbandry and Venetrinary department will work out the number of seats according to population figures.

14. Cabinet resolves that Bodo Peace Accord be concluded expeditiously and a request will be made to Government of India in this regard.

15. The allocation for Tea Tribe Welfare department will be increased by 100%. For higher education of Tea Tribe community, seats will be reserved for tea tribe students in all general colleges including universities. In addition, process for starting 100 new high schools in tea garden areas will be taken up in next 3 months.

16. The wages for laborers of Assam Tea Corporation will be increased from Rs 137 per day to Rs 167 per day from January 1, 2020.

17. A bill will be introduced in next session of Assam Legislative Assembly for protection of land rights of Indigenous people of Assam.

18. Assam Heritage Preservation Bill will be introduced in next session of Assam Legislative Assembly.

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