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SHILLONG: The failure of the political parties of Meghalaya to review the Reservation Policy framed by the state government in 1972 as per the provision of the Constitution has struck a chord at a time when Meghalaya is battling with the problem of unemployment in the state.
Raising this concern, the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) on Wednesday informed that as RTI filed with the Personnel Department, Government of Meghalaya recently, it was revealed that since 1972, the reservation policy framed by the government based on the population, has not been reviewed till date.
"It is a matter of concern for all to witness the lackadaisical attitude of the political parties of the state to take this matter forward," KHNAM general secretary Batkupar Wahlang said adding that the resolution which was framed more than 4 decades ago has been maintained as statuesque despite the ever increasing population ratio amongst the three major tribes of Meghalaya—Khasi, Jaintia and Garo.
According to the resolution taken in accordance with the reservation policy framed as per Clause 4 (Art 16) of the Constitution, by the state government in 1972, it was mentioned that unlike other state governments, Meghalaya enjoys 80 percent of reservation—40 percent for Khasi/Jaintia tribes and 40 percent for Garo tribes and this is based on the population.
The resolution further mentioned that if a community cannot fulfil the 40 percent reservation, the same would be passed on to the other community. However, the second line of the resolution contradicts the first where it states that if a particular community cannot fulfil the 40 percent reservation, the remaining seats would be carried over to the next year, not exceeding one year.
Terming this resolution as 'unjustified', Wahlang said the Khasi/ Jaintia people are being deprived of their privilege be it academically or professionally. "If only the second line was not included in the resolution, it would have help, to some extent, solve the crisis the state faces today which is unemployment," he said.
Divulging details on the population census of the state in 1971, Wahlang said that the population of the Khasis excluding the Jaintias exceeds the population of the Garo. "We need efficient and deserving people to work for the government but as of now, it seems most of the candidates securing good marks during academic and job related examinations fails to attain a seat because the 40 percent reserved for the Khasi/Jaintia is occupied whereas, despite their inability to fill the 40 percent reserved seats, tribals from Garo Hills who secure even average marks are granted seats," he added.
Meanwhile, KHNAM leader Adelbert Nongrum stated that this policy is an obstacle for the Khasi and Jaintia people and mentioned that there is a need for the government to review the resolution while suggesting that a cut off percentage should be inserted rather than just recruiting unqualified individuals to government jobs based on the population driven 40-40 percent reservation.
Calling upon the Garo community to take this as a challenge, Nongrum said "If the cut off percentage is decided upon, then the spirit of competition will also follow suit," adding that the representatives of the state should look at this long-neglected issue as their top-priority because it's not only a matter of quantity but also quality.
The KHNAM has decided to follow up this issue by setting up an expert committee to study this policy and has also called upon the people to pitch in their suggestions.