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Manipur people protest ‘outsiders’ seeking state jobs

IMPHAL (IANS): Students have threatened to boycott a selection test and force the Manipur Public Service Commission to shut office to protest the way candidates from other states were allowed to register for 82 government jobs. “In practical terms it means that the candidates from the educationally advanced states can grab all the 82 vacancies in Manipur,” Jayanta Khuman, the convener of the Joint Students’ Coordination Committee (JSCC), said.

The Manipur Public Service Commission had invited online applications for 82 state government posts for which the written test is to be held on February 28.  On Saturday, the students met Education Minister Moirangthem Okendra to seek his intervention. The minister assured them that he will look into the matter and take up remedial measures.

Khuman said, “Over 17,000 candidates out of 35,000 applications are from other states. There is no safeguard for the local candidates, unlike those in other northeastern states.”

In Nagaland, 80 percent of the jobs are reserved for the local candidates. In Mizoram, an eligible candidate must have a working knowledge of the Mizo language.

There is no such pre-condition in case of Manipur, Khuman said. Since the candidates from outside Manipur do not speak or write the local language, there will be a gap in communication in the administration, he argued.

The situation in Manipur reflected “the state government’s tendency to appease the central leaders”, Ramananda, a candidate, said. “In Mizoram, non-local candidates can apply, provided they are residents whose names appear on the voters’ lists. Their birth certificates should support it,” Khuman said.

Why has the Manipur Public Service Commission adopted a “loose policy” at a time most of the northeastern states prefer local candidates, he wondered.  In Manipur, there are more than 750,000 educated unemployed people who have been registered with the employment exchanges.

The population of the state is less than 27 lakh. The local candidates, who believe they are at a disadvantage competing with people from the larger states, have formed a ‘joint action committee’ to protest the commission’s norms.  “If the stand of the commission is not made public by February 18, there will be direct action, including boycott of the written test,” said one of the protesting students. Meanwhile, opposition legislator I. Ibohanbi said on Sunday that the commission must modify its norms to restrict people from other states applying for jobs in Manipur.

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