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Meghalaya Assembly rejects resolution on job reservation

Nongrum, who is supporting the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government stressed on the need to refer the resolution to a select committee.

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Shillong: A resolution moved by the lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator, Adelbert Nongrum, demanding the Meghalaya government review and revamp the “outdated” state reservation policy was defeated by a voice vote in the state assembly on Tuesday.

Nongrum, who is supporting the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government stressed on the need to refer the resolution to a select committee.

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Seeking an answer from the government why outsiders are allowed to avail reservation in state government jobs in a category earmarked specifically for Garo people, the KHNAM legislator asked why the reservation policy was linked to academic courses.

“Considering only the three major tribal communities of the state, Garo constituted 41.5 percent and Khasi-Jaintia 58.5 percent –clearly the government resolution of 40:40 appears to have favoured one community over the combined other two, when the ratio should have been 33.2 percent and 46.8 percent respectively,” the KHNAM legislator pointed out.”

Participating in the discussion, Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma asserted that the issues confronting the people of the state can always be discussed within the ruling conglomeration and opposition.

“This is the usual and healthy practice,” he said. In his reply, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the existing reservation policy has withstood the test of time since 1972, when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam, and it was found there was a need for framing a policy for adequate representation of various communities in the public administration of the state.

“With the completion of 50 years of statehood, the reservation policy has worked well to the benefit of the communities of the state who are serving in the different departments and agencies of the government,” Sangma told the assembly.

Moreover, he said the government had adopted the present policy after thorough examination, detailed discussion and due consideration of the Article 164 of the Constitution. “The matter as a whole is complex and sensitive in nature which needs to be tackled judiciously and thoughtfully as a policy matter,” the Chief Minister underscored.

In the course of his reply, Sangma also requested Nongrum to withdraw his resolution saying that these issues were far more sensitive than what meets the eye. “Keeping the sensitivity of the issue in mind…I request the member to withdraw this resolution,” he said.

However, Nongrum did not withdraw the resolution and hence Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh put the resolution to vote and it was defeated. 

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