Meghalaya finally sets up expert panel to study 51 year old reservation policy

Shillong, June 2 : Amidst the demands and agitations of various parties including the Voice of the People's Party (VPP), the Meghalaya government on Thursday announced the constitution of an expert committee to review the 1972 reservation policy. Chief Secretary D. P. Wahlang issued a notification saying that the expert committee would review the state reservation policy by obtaining views from all stakeholders including the political parties, NGOs, and civil society organisations (CSOs). The Chairperson and members of the committee shall consist of experts in constitutional law, economics, sociology, demographic Studies and related fields which shall be notified by the state government. The expert committee shall undertake a review of the State Reservation Policy by obtaining views from all stakeholders and by conducting field visits to all parts of the state, the notification said. An all-party committee on reservation roster system and reservation policy on Wednesday also suggested appointing an expert committee to review the 51-year-old reservation policy. Headed by state Law, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, the all-party committee had also recommended that all political parties should submit their views and suggestions in writing on the matter within 15 days. Meanwhile, VPP President Ardent Basaiawmoit on Thursday called off his 10-day-long indefinite hunger strike after the state government constituted the expert committee to review the reservation policy. According to the 2011 Census, Christians constitute 74.59 per cent of Meghalaya's 29.67 lakh populations, while Muslims and Hindus constitute 4.4 per cent and 11.53 per cent, respectively. Meghalaya's 51-year-old job reservation policy entails 80 per cent quota for three matrilineal communities - Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia. The quota is divided equally between the Garos and the Khasi-Jaintia people together. Another 5 per cent is reserved for 'other minor tribes', while 15 per cent is reserved for people in the unreserved categories. The Garo tribals are educationally more backward and numerically lower than the Khasi-Jaintia people, and they have hardly been able to get the full benefit of the reservation of 40 per cent. Z.R. Marak had earlier approached the Meghalaya High Court claiming that other communities were using up the quota meant for the Garo people in violation of the relevant laws. On April 21, the high court had asked the Meghalaya government to introduce a roster system that would be relevant only for entry-level posts. /IANS


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