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Op-Ed

Representation on the Review of Job Reservation Policy — CCoRoRP (Open Letter)

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By EMN Updated: Aug 22, 2019 11:56 pm
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To,
The Chairperson,

Review Committee on Job Reservation Policy in the State of Nagaland, Government of Nagaland

Respected Sir,

At the outset, the undersigned on behalf of the Core Committee on Rationalisation of Reservation Policy (CCoRoRP) humbly extends our warm greetings.

The CCoRoRP is a mandated committee of the five tribal Students bodies; viz. All Sumi Students’ Union (SKK), Angami Students’ Union(ASU), Ao Students’ Conference (AKM), Lotha Students’ Union (LSU) and Rengma Students’ Union(RSU). The Core Committee was officially formed in the year 2016 to study and address on the existing Reservation Policy in the State. Therefore, the CCoRoRP, after thorough study of the matter in the interest of our people presents to you this Representation on the review of Job Reservation Policy from a rational point of view.

The Nagaland Reservation Policy (NRP) which was introduced in the year 1977 on the 11th of January is one of the most contentious issues facing the Naga society today. What was introduced as a good law aimed at alleviating the ‘educated and economically backward section of the Naga society’ has now been implemented for more than four decades with little or no modifications by the Nagaland government. The Nagaland Reservation Policy had been enacted with good intentions and surely it has benefitted the target section in the Naga society. But even after more than forty years, the NRP is once again put forth among the Naga students for debate; unfortunately, this topic is political in nature, very sensitive and at the most entailing huge ramifications in its wake. Therefore, a systematic and pragmatic approach to this issue is needed because this issue encompasses every aspect of the Naga society from the highest to the lowest, from the most urban to the most rural society.

We are all aware of how the Nagaland State came into being. We also know how some Naga Tribes were a bit more advanced than the other Naga Tribe. It was the same situation all over India because of the diverse tribes, castes, classes, religion etc. Our Nagaland Legislative Assembly also adopted the Nagaland Reservation Policy and it became an Act on January 11, 1977. During that time, as per available records, it was up for a review after ten years. And the policy has been up for review from time to time during the past years. What initially started as a 25 % job reservation for the ‘educationally and economically backward tribes’ belonging to six tribes has now been enhanced to 37 % covering nine tribes.

Forty years of Reservation policy ought to have had some impact on the targeted society and their ‘educational and economic’ conditions by now. If not, the Reservation policy is faulty and needs to be reviewed totally. Besides, this reservation policy, which the Naga people only think in terms of employment opportunities there have been a lot of ramifications because of this ‘backward quota reservation’; therefore, the Term ‘Backward Reservation’ needs to be looked from a bigger perspective so that Nagaland State can also progress in an equitable manner.

Therefore, some of the very pertinent questions are; What is the end product of the Reservation Policy in our Naga society today? Is it genuinely benefitting the targeted group of people? If so how? And if it is benefitting the targeted group, then should it go on forever? The next most important question is this, is this Reservation policy at the expense of good governance and against an equitable Naga society?

A review of the “Banuo Committee Report – 2008”, the “Kevichusa Committee Report – 2010” and the “Temjen Toy Committee Report – 2010” indicates that the reservation policy is all about providing government jobs to the Naga educated people. It is to be appreciated that the State Government has done its part in reviewing the reservation policy time to time.

However, the select committee reports have not been passed by the State Cabinet and therefore a status quo is being maintained till date. A status quo on such an issue like the Nagaland Reservation Policy puts the lives and careers of thousands of Naga educated youths at stake. Therefore, it is time to redefine the reservation quota based on the situational realities of our state so that in the shortest course of time, our people – irrespective of tribes, forward or backward tribe people – can sit together and compete and be selected, where merit and calibre is the one and only barometer for selection to a job.

A thorough systematic and academic study on how the Reservation Policy is contributing to the targeted people and areas in Nagaland should be undertaken at the earliest. This can be done in an unbiased manner by the Government in collaboration with various Agencies/ Tribal apex bodies for systematic collection of the Actual Data and further policy formulation by the Government.

Charter for Review of Reservation Policy by the Government–

The CCoRoRP has hereunder formulated the following Charter of Representation which is hereby submitted to the Review Committee on Job Reservation Policy in the State of Nagaland, Government of Nagaland for favour of action in the implementation of the Policy.

1. Implementation of ‘creamy layer’ policy on Reservation: The CCoRoRP strongly feels that the Government should implement the ‘Creamy Layer criteria’ for determining the Creamy layers as per the rule under National Commission for Backward Class (NCBC).

2. Pocket Wise Reservation: Socio- economic and educational backwardness of the people should be identified/ measured based on the region, pocket/ area and accordingly the Reservation Policy should be implemented including the Creamy layer criteria.

3. Equal criteria on Educational qualification for all Jobs: Relaxation of Educational Qualification for employment will only yield mediocrity. Even if a job is reserved, there should be no compromise on the Educational qualification.

4. Category options for all competitive Exams: Reservation upon Reservation is creating frustration and distrust amongst the Naga Students. A candidate from a backward category should be given a choice to compete either from the backward quota or General. Irrespective of the marks secured, the candidate should be considered only in the opted category.

5. Cut off mark on Reservation quota: A cut off mark to qualify exams should be set for BT category to avoid qualifying only by virtue of being single candidate from a particular tribe under a given roster. Similarly, Current roster system of reserved quotas especially in technical posts should be comprehensively reviewed.

6. Time framed Review of Reservation Policy: Reservation should not be considered as birth right of any person; it should be reviewed and implemented in consonance with the change of time. For instance, if a particular Tribe/Area literacy rate reaches above State literacy ratio, Reservation policy for that Tribe/Area should be reviewed accordingly.

The Core Committee is not against genuine reservation, but it needs to be streamlined. The Six Charter of Representation should be implemented, the reservation policy should benefit those intended people all over Nagaland, and this reservation policy once it has served its purpose, once the so-called backward people reaches at par educationally and socio- economically with others, then there should be a time when the Nagaland Legislative Assembly should declare that the Reservation Policy is done with.

We trust that your kind authority would seriously implement our propositions.

With Regards and commitment,
N Ejanthung Ngullie, Convenor, CCoRoRP;
Zakie Khate, Secretary, CCoRoRP;
President, Angami Students’ Union (ASU);
President, Ao Students’ Conference(AKM);
President, All Sumi Students’ Union(SKK) ;
President, Rengma Students’ Union(RSU);
President, Lotha Students’ Union (LSU)

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By EMN Updated: Aug 22, 2019 11:56:31 pm