Amid political uncertainty in Jharkhand, the Hemant Soren-led UPA government on Wednesday gave its nod to a proposal to use the 1932 land records to determine those who are local inhabitants.
The decision was taken in the backdrop of tribals demand that the last land survey conducted by the British government in 1932 be used as the basis for defining locals.
“The cabinet approved the proposal to implement Khatian of 1932 in the state. The Jharkhand Definition of Local Persons and for Extending the Consequential Social, Cultural and Other Benefits to such Local Persons Bill, 2022 has been cleared by the council of ministers,” Cabinet Secretary Vandana Dadel told reporters after the meeting.
People whose ancestors were living in the state before 1932 and whose names were included in that years land records will be considered local residents of Jharkhand.
A proposal to this effect will be sent to the Centre to include it in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, Dadel said.
In the case of landless persons or people whose names were not recorded in the 1932 land survey, Gram Sabha will take a call on it, the official said.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren termed the decision as “historic”, while reiterating that the opposition was going all out to create an atmosphere of uncertainty in the state but the government will continue to take steps for development.
“Our sentiments are with the youth, unemployed, students, teachers and all…the government has taken several historic decisions today. We have decided to implement the 1932 Khatian…hike reservation to the OBCs to 27 per cent. This cabinet meeting has been historic…The government will do justice to all,” he said.
Taking a dig at the opposition parties, he said they were “making attempts to destabilise the government but would not succeed” and the government will “complete its full-term”.
Soren said he has directed officials in all departments to redress problems.
The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal for granting 77 per cent reservation in state government jobs for members of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, backward classes, other backward classes and economically weaker sections.
The domicile policy has remained controversial ever since Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000. The previous BJP government in the state had, in 2016, declared 1985 as the cut-off year for defining locals.
But after the JMM-led alliance came to the power in the state in 2019, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Shibu Soren announced that the 1932 land records should be made the basis to formulate the domicile policy.
The JMM, Congress and RJD – all three partners of the ruling coalition- hailed the decision.
The governments decision came amid a political crisis in the state over the possibility of Sorens disqualification as an MLA in connection with an office-of-profit case.
Governor Ramesh Bais, who returned to Ranchi on September 8 after a week-long stay in Delhi, has been maintaining silence over the Election Commission of Indias recommendation on Soren.
Earlier this month, Bais had assured ruling UPA MLAs of clearing the air over the ECs opinion on a petition seeking the CMs disqualification from the assembly in the office-of-profit case. Despite the prevailing crisis, the state cabinet had recently approved the standard operating procedure for implementing the old pension scheme, which was discontinued on April 1, 2004, and replaced with the National Pension System (NPS).
The government also restored compensatory leaves for the police force.
In fact, the Hemant Soren government had on September 5 won the confidence vote in the assembly by a comfortable margin, which helped the politically-savvy tribal leader consolidate his hold over the state.
As many as 48 MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion in the 81-member assembly 29 of the JMM, 15 of the Congress, one each of RJD, NCP and CPIML(L) and an Independent even as the opposition BJP-led NDA walked out of the House in that day.
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