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KATHMANDU:  Madhesi rights activists say draft of the Federal Civil Services Bill contains a provision that can dilute inclusion in the country’s bureaucracy.

Vice-chair of Nepal Madhesi Nijamati Manch Sujit Kumar Jha said the draft bill proposed 30 per cent reservation for Khas Arya women which was against the principle of inclusion, mainly because Khas Arya constituted almost 80 per cent of the bureaucracy. “But since the constitution categorises Khas Arya as one of the reservation clusters, the constitutional provision must be amended if reservation policy has to be truly ensured in Nepal,” he said.

Jha said reservation should aim at increasing the presence of those communities who are under-represented in the state organs. “If the state wants to take into account poverty of Khas Arya people, it should focus on poverty reduction programmes,” he added.

“In the past, some seats of the first and the second class gazetted officers were filled through open competition but this bill proposes to do away with the practice. This is also a disadvantage for the marginalised communities,” he argued.

The draft bill proposes that 80 per cent of the gazetted first class posts will be filled on the basis of seniority and 20 per cent on the basis of internal competition.

The bill also states that 70 per cent of second class gazetted officers will be selected on the basis of seniority, 20 per cent on the basis of internal competition and 10 per cent on the basis of inter-service competition.

Reservation will apply to 45 per cent of civil service posts of which 50 per cent will be allocated for women.

The draft bill proposes that out of the reserved posts, 32 per cent will go to indigenous nationalities, 26 per cent to Madhesis, 12 per cent to indigent Khas Arya, 12 per cent to Dalits, five per cent to Tharus, five per cent to differently-abled people, four per cent to aspirants from backward regions, three per cent to Muslims and one per cent to other backward classes.

Similarly the draft bill proposes that 30 per cent of the total posts reserved for women will go to women of Khas Arya group, 22 per cent to indigenous nationalities, 20 per cent to Madhesis, 10 per cent to Dalits, five per cent to Tharus, five per cent to differently-abled, four per cent to women from backward regions, three per cent to Muslims and one per cent to OBC.

The bill states that a candidate can take the benefit of reservation just once in his/her career.

It adds that children of those parents who have already benefited from reservation cannot qualify for reservation except the differently-abled people.

Advocate Dipendra Jha said this prohibition was uncalled for.

“Barring the children of a civil servant who benefited from reservation to enter a low-level job will not do justice to the children because the low paying job of that parent may not improve the status of the family significantly,” he added.

Jha added that the bill’s proposal to merge quota vacancies into other quota vacancies in the event of non-fulfilment of certain quota vacancies was against the precedent set by the Supreme Court. “If a Madhesi quota is not filled in one year, then that quota should be merged into Madhesi quota next year,” he argued.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of General Administration Shiva Ram Neupane said the bill had tried to correct the mistakes of the past.

“In the past, we saw reservation benefiting families who did not actually need reservation. We also saw that families of joint secretaries and secretaries benefited from reservation,” Neupane said.

He added that the MoGA was working to sub-categorise clusters for reservation so that reservation could benefit the most needy among the reservation clusters. He said the government could also define the economic and social status so that only the targeted people could benefit from reservation.

–  By Ram Kumar Kamat for THT

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