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Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), Power, Significance

Context: The Calcutta High Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate a preliminary investigation into reported recruitment irregularities of teachers under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (a regional autonomous body).

What is the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)?

  • The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous council (45 members) for the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal.
  • Formed in 2012 through a tripartite agreement between the Indian government, the West Bengal government, and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (political party).
  • Successor to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (1988-2012).

GTA’s Authority

  • Covers three hill subdivisions (Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik) and some areas of the Siliguri subdivision.
  • Includes the entire Kalimpong district.

Source of Power

  • Unlike the Sixth Schedule (regional autonomy in Assam etc.), GTA derives autonomy through legislation.
  • Handles administrative, executive, and financial matters related to agriculture, education, tea gardens, and tourism.

Reasons for Autonomy

  • Protects and promotes the Gorkha community and their cultural identity (distinct from Bengali).
  • Addresses issues of poverty, underdevelopment, and marginalisation.

Significance of GTA

  • Provides political recognition and a platform for the Gorkha identity within India.
  • Empowers the Gorkha community with a focus on land, economy, and social development.
Gorkhaland Movement
  • “Gorkhaland” – a separate state demand – emerged in the 1980s (coined by Subhash Ghising).
  • The movement seeks a homeland for the Gorkha people in Darjeeling.
  • Historical context:
    • 1909: Demand for a separate administrative unit in Darjeeling.
    • 1947: Demand for “Gorkhasthan” (Darjeeling and Sikkim) by the undivided Communist Party of India.
    • 1980s: Violent agitation by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).
    • 2007: Renewed agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) against the Sixth Schedule solution.
    • 2011: Formation of GTA to address GJM concerns.
    • 2017: Resurgence of agitation due to compulsory Bengali language rule.
    • 2022: GTA elections are held, Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) wins.

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