More reservation quotas sought for ethnic groups

Kathmandu, February 18

Lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties have opposed the Federal Civil Servants Bill proposed by the central government in the House of Representatives stating that the bill had minimised reservation quotas of their ethnic groups and communities and that went against the spirit of the constitution.

They not only shared their dissatisfaction with the provision of the bill which cut off some percentage of their reservation quotas, but also sought that the reservation quota be based on the population of their caste and ethnicity during thematic discussion in the House.

The proposed bill states reservation in eight clusters: women (33 per cent) Adiwasi/Janajati (24 per cent), Madhesi (20 per cent), Dalit (9 per cent), Tharu (4 per cent), Muslim (3 per cent), differently abled people (3 per cent) and backward area (4 per cent).

In civil service, out of 100 per cent, 45 per cent is allocated for inclusive and 55 per cent is allocated for open competition.

In order to make civil service inclusive, 45 per cent of the posts to be filled through open competition shall be set aside and be filled through separate competition between candidates of  related reservation clusters. The 45 per cent is converted into 100 per cent and distributed according to the given reservation clusters.

The new bill has included two new reservation clusters. To include two more clusters — Tharu and Muslim — for reservation, the government cut off some percentage of Adiwasi/Janajati and Madhesi clusters.

“To accommodate those two clusters for reservation, we have to cut some per cent of previous clusters in reservation,” said Suresh Adhikari. “So, we cut off two per cent reservation of Madhesi (from 22 to 20 per cent), cut off three per cent reservation of Adiwasi/Janajati (from 27 to 24 per cent) and cut off two per cent reservation of differently abled people (from five per cent to three per cent).” He said the government couldn’t go beyond 45 per cent, so, we accommodated those clusters within the given percentage.

Speaking in the House, ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmakers Ganga Chaudhary, Asha Kumari BK, Bimala BK and Anjana Bisanke said the reservation in the bill was not properly distributed. Chaudhary asked for increase in reservation quota of Tharu from four per cent to 6.6 per cent in the bill. She said the reservation should be distributed according to the constitutional provision.

Following Chaudhary’s arguments based on the constitutional provisions, Asha Kumari, Bimala and Anjana asked for increase in reservation quota for Dalis. Asha said the population of Dalits in Nepal was around 7.5 million, so the reservation quotas should be increased according to our population.

Main opposition Nepali Congress lawmaker Bharat Kumar Shah said the government should increase overall reservation from 45 per cent to 49 per cent, as in India. NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal said the bill didn’t follow proportional inclusion. Moreover, former minister and NCP (NCP) lawmaker Rekha Sharma criticised the provisions of transferring provincial chief ministers and ministers from the central government. She also said the federal government shouldn’t interfere in relation to employees’ issues in provincial and local governments.

Responding to the queries of 19 lawmakers, Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit said the government had brought the bill as per the spirit of the constitution. He said if there were some provisions to amend, the lawmakers could do so and the government welcomed all the concerns of lawmakers.