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SC opinion to be sought for FF quota: Reforms body

Merit, not quota in jobs suggested

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Staff Reporter  :
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam on Monday said, the quota reforms committee formed by the government has finalised the proposition with the provision of abolishing almost all quotas in government jobs.
"Our recommendations are to withdraw almost all the quotas and give priority to merits," the Cabinet Secretary said this while briefing reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting in the Secretariat yesterday.
The current quota system for government jobs allows the administration to reserve 56 percent of posts for different quotas. These quotas include 30 percent for families of freedom fighters, 10 percent for women, 10 percent for backward districts, 5 percent for small ethnic groups, and 1 percent for people with disabilities.
"The 'opinion' of the Supreme Court will be sought before taking any decision over freedom fighters' 30 percent quota for the children of freedom-fighters," Shafiul Alam said.
He said, "Our decision is to opt for merit over the quota system. It's time for open competition and this is the main finding of the committee. The remaining quotas will be abolished, but the quota for the children of freedom fighters may be maintained if it is ordered by the Supreme Court."
"Even an observation by the court becomes legally binding for the executive branch," said the Cabinet Secretary when he was reminded that the Supreme Court had made an 'observation', not a 'ruling' on the quota for the children of freedom fighters.
According to the observation, he said, the posts under the freedom fighters' quota will have to be kept vacant in case of non-availability of qualified candidates.
Noting that time has come to open up the competition, he said, 'Our decision (recommendation) is to go for merits as much as possible by scrapping the quota system.'
The government formed a seven-member committee on July 2 with Mohammad Shafiul Alam as its convener to review the existing quota system in public services.
Secretaries from Public Administration Ministry, Liberation War Affairs Ministry, Prime Minister's Office, Public Service Commission, Economic Department, and Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Department are on the committee.
In April, students of public and private universities across the country waged a strong movement demanding reforms in the quota system.
In the face of the movement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament on April 11 the abolition of all types of quotas in government jobs.

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