New job policy junked by HC, Soren govt ready with ‘reworked’ old one - Hindustan Times
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New job policy junked by HC, Soren govt ready with ‘reworked’ old one

By, Ranchi
Mar 01, 2023 09:26 PM IST

JMM legislator Sudivya Kumar, considered close to chief minister Hemant Soren, said the government’s new policy is based on the feedback it received from job aspirants during a recent telephonic survey.

More than two months after the Jharkhand high court scrapped the state’s new employment policy, the Hemant Soren government is set to bring back the policy in force in the state prior to 2016, with some changes in favour of “locals”, in a bid to restart the stalled recruitment process, people aware of the development said.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (HT Photo)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (HT Photo)

The draft of the new employment policy has been finalised and it is likely to be tabled in the cabinet meeting for approval soon, they said.

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“We can’t reveal details as it is to be cleared by the cabinet and also the budget session is under way. However, as per the previous policy, 50 per cent of the seats are reserved for locals by the virtue of reservations to ST, SC and OBC categories. Now, the quota level would go up to 60 per cent, with the addition of 10 per cent reservation for general EWS (economically weaker section) category. The rest 40 per cent would remain open, but aspirants might be asked to give declaration about their domicile,” said a senior official, not willing to be named.

To ensure locals get preference or at least have an advantage, the course structure for the examinations could include papers testing aspirants in the local language and culture, the official said.

Ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator Sudivya Kumar, considered close to the chief minister, said the government’s new policy is based on the feedback it received from job aspirants during a recent telephonic survey.

“This government is committed to providing jobs to the state’s youth. The chief minister had announced in the assembly that the government would make law as per the interest of the students. The government had conducted a telephonic survey and students have given their feedback. I can assure that the government would come up with the policy in the ongoing budget session. No aspirant would be allowed to suffer. We would provide them age relaxation as well as ensure the fee they paid for exams which got cancelled due to the scrapping of the new employment policy is taken into consideration,” said Kumar.

On December 16 last year, the Jharkhand high court had struck down the employment policy brought in by the Soren government in 2021, which amended the Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC) examination rules, making passing class 10th and 12th from a school in Jharkhand mandatory for job aspirants belonging to the general category to apply for grade 3 &4 jobs.

The policy was in departure to the one brought in by the Raghubar Das-led BJP government in 2016, which fixed 1985 as the cutoff date for determining the state’s domicile policy.

In the new policy, the Soren government had also reserved 100 per cent of grade 3&4 jobs for locals in 13 of the 14 districts which fall under schedule V of the Constitution, a special provision meant to safeguard rights of tribals.

In effect, the HC decision stalled examination process being conducted by the JSSC for thousands of vacancies across departments.

The Soren government, which has been in power for three years, had showcased its employment policy as a step to ensure only locals get class III &IV government jobs.

In another setback for the Soren government days after the HC order, the then Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais sent back the “1932 Khatiyan Bill” back to the state government for reconsideration, describing it to be violative of Article 16 of the Constitution that provides freedom to employment and of court rulings.

The Jharkhand government had, at special session on November 11, 2022, passed the “Jharkhand definition of local persons and for extending the consequential, social, cultural and other benefits to such local persons Bill, 2022”, popularly known as 1932 Khatiyan bill. As per the bill, only those who have their or names of their ancestors in the Khatiyan (land records) of 1932 or before would be considered as a local inhabitant of Jharkhand and only they would be entitled for grade 3 & 4 jobs in the state.

As per the bill provisions, the new law would have come into effect only after the Centre included it in the ninth schedule of the Constitution, which is shielded from judicial review. The state government had sent the bill to Raj Bhawan for its assent, to be forwarded to the Centre for its inclusion in the ninth schedule.

Looking for a way out from the stalemate, the Soren government had last month sent recorded voice calls to job aspirants in the state, seeking their opinion whether the state should start recruitment process as per the old employment policy or wait till they are able to come up with their own version, aimed at protecting the rights of tribals and locals.

As per the data released about this survey by the information & public relations department, the state government had reached out to 7,33, 921 job aspirants for their feedback. The government claimed 73 per cent of these respondents said it should immediately start recruitment process based on the policy that was prevalent prior to 2016, while 16 per cent opposed the idea. Eleven per cent remained undecided, the statement said.

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