ATSUM submits memo to Guv on various tribal issues
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Kangpokpi, July 19 2014 : Drawing attention of the state government towards various issues related to the tribal people in Manipur, All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) has submitted a memorandum to the state Governor today.

The memorandum stated that tribal constitute about 43% of the total population of Manipur as per 2013 census report and occupy 93% of the total geographical area.

However, the percentage of tribal employees in the state government is a dismal with 18% only which ought to be 31% as per latest reservation policy of the state government, it added.

The memorandum signed by ATSUM president Emboi Serto and Secretary Marahang Ngiimai said that most important Central and State Institutes including RIMS, MU, CAU, JNIMS, SAI, MIT, IIIT, Khuman Lampak Sports complex etc are all located in the two Imphal districts only.

According to the tribal student apex body, reservation for SC/STs has been a litigious issue in the state since its inception in 1972.The Manipur Reservation of Vacancies in Post and Services (for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) ACT 1976 has been kept inoperative for one reason or the other.

After much persuasion by ATSUM, a Special Assembly of the Manipur Legislative Assembly was held from 15-18 September, 2006 to introduce and pass the Amendment Bill, the memorandum recalled.

However, some sections and clauses which are controversial, unsatisfactory and harmful for the tribal's interest are inserted in the Bill, it alleged, saying the insertion of a new clause 'ACTION TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH' in the 2007 Bill under Section 18A and 18B is not in the original 1976 Act nor in the 'proposed' 2006 Bill.

ATSUM asked the intended meaning of 'GOOD FAITH' and wondered the very purpose of having a law if the offenders are to be exempted 'in good faith' or 'intend to be done under the Act' .

A particular clause was added in the Rule Book by the department officials 'in good faith' by saying that, "In the event of ST candidates not in the position to fill their reserved seats, the same can go to SC or General Candidates" asserted ATSUM.

It also said that the year this clause was inserted, only 1 ST candidate was found to have qualified the written test and the remaining 17 seats were about to be allotted to general candidates.

ATSUM took this matter to the streets, the media and finally to the Supreme Court of India.

The state government has somehow managed to pushed through the controversial Bill in 2007 but the same is yet to practically inoperative because of non-approval of the said Reservation Rules.

Moreover, the draft Rules which is practically followed at present conventionally has shifted to 200 Roster instead of the then 100 Point Roster systems pointed out ATSUM in the memorandum.

ATSUM further pointed out that the previous 100 Point Roster put ST in Sl.No.1 and SC in No.4 whereas in the new '200 Point Roster' put ST and SC in Sl.No.4 and 53 respectively while adding that this practice in one way may be justified but is very unfair considering that Reservation policy is introduced in our country to uplift the lower sections of the society to the level of the general categories.

No Reservation policy or Roster system is ever followed in recruitment on Contract, Adhoc or Part Time basis, ATSUM alleged adding that due to this unfair practice, more than 20000 state government jobs/posts meant for the STs of the state are being occupied by general (Meiteis) .

The brunt of the imbalanced Reservation Policy in Manipur has been witnessed in Manipur University which was converted to Central University a few years back.

The University authority who never take serious note of the conventionally practiced state Reservation policy suddenly become serious with the Central Reservation Policy that gives only 7.5 % to the STs and 15.5% to SCs.

ATSUM demanded immediate intervention of the Governor in the introduction of the rules of Manipur Reservation of Vacancies in Post and Services (for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) ACT 1976 .

Regarding Hill Areas Committee in the state, ATSUM pointed out the Constitution of India has specially made this institution powerful so that the marginalized Tribal people and their interest will be looked into with special care.

While alleging that Manipur Hill Area Committee is more or less like a government department, ATSUM demanded that the Hill Area Committee functions properly and fearlessly.

Let the chairman of Hill Area Committee be always from the opposition not from the ruling party, asserted ATSUM.

The tribal student body also urged the state government to follow the guidelines of the Planning Commission and Implement Tribal Sub Plan in the state in Toto.

While urging the state Government to materialize its promise of delegating power to the ADC, ATSUM maintained that after more than 20 years, elections to the District Councils are conducted with stiff opposition from the Nagas.

The members of ADCs are mostly selected not elected so there is no democracy in the real sense of the term in the hills, it said.

ATSUM also sought that the two separate administrations of Civil administration and police administration must be under one administration.

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