GUWAHATI, Sept 15: The Nagaland Assembly has established a seven-member
Select Committee to review the Nagaland Municipal Bill, 2023. Deputy chief
minister TR Zeliang will lead this committee.
The decision to refer the bill to the Select Committee was made after
deliberations regarding the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) election, which has not
taken place in the state for nearly two decades.
Speaker Sharingain Longkumer announced the formation of the Select Committee
before concluding the session. The Assembly Secretariat will provide detailed
instructions on the committee’s operations, but typically, such panels tasked with
reviewing government bills are expected to submit their reports within three
months, according to Longkumer.
The Nagaland Municipal Bill was presented in the House on September 12 by
chief minister Neiphiu Rio. It follows discussions by members on issues of urgent
public interest related to Urban Local Bodies Elections.
During the March session, the Assembly repealed the Nagaland Municipal Act
2001 and decided to draft a new law that incorporates the views of tribal bodies
and civil societies, particularly regarding the 33 percent reservation for women
and taxation on land and properties.
Efforts to hold ULB elections have been met with strong opposition from tribal
bodies and civil society organizations in the past. Previous attempts in 2017 led to
violence, including fatalities and damage to government properties, ultimately
resulting in the fall of the Zeliang ministry. In March of the current year, the
Neiphiu Rio-led government announced plans for elections with 33 percent
women’s reservation, as directed by the Supreme Court. However, due to
continued resistance, the government canceled the elections and repealed the
Members of the Nagaland Assembly have expressed the view that the Bill should
be reviewed by a Select Committee to ensure consensus among all stakeholders
before it becomes law.
Other members of the Select Committee include ministers K G Kenye, P Paiwang
Konyak, N Jacob Zhimomi, Metsubo Jamir, and Advisors Zhaleo Rio & Mhathung
Yanthan. The committee will be assisted by the secretary-in-charge of NLA,
Khruohituonuo Rio, who will serve as the member secretary.