Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Quota reform panel’s 1st meeting held amid protest

Published on: 10:18 pm - Sunday | July 8, 2018
The committee formed to review the quota system for government jobs is sitting for the first time as anger is simmering among protesters over the delay.
The committee met at the office of its chief, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, at the Secretariat on Sunday.

The government had appointed the cabinet secretary to lead the seven-member panel on Jul 2 in an effort to stave off further protests from quota reform protesters.

The committee has been told to analyse the possibility of reforming or abolishing the existing quota system and to submit a report with a reasoned recommendation of how it could be changed to the government.

The committee, which includes the secretaries from the Ministry of Public Administration, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Public Service Commission, the Division of Finance and the Division of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, has been instructed to submit the report within 15 workdays, or July 23.

Currently, 56 percent of public sector jobs are reserved under the quota system. The system allocates 30 percent for the children of Liberation War fighters, 10 percent for women, 10 percent for backward districts, 5 percent for minority groups and 1 percent for the disabled.

Students and job seekers launched a protest movement several months ago to reduce the amount of the quota to 10 percent.

On April 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament that the system would be abolished altogether.

She also announced the formation of the review committee at the time.

The protesters welcomed the prime minister’s announcement and stayed their protests for some time.

But top officials were unable to provide answers regarding when the committee would meet.

On May 8, the public administration ministry’s Senior Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan told the media that an outline for the committee had arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office on that day, but there were few reports of progress on the issue.

Quota reform supporters resumed their protests amid the delay and were attacked several times by the Bangladesh Chhatra League. Protest leader Rashed Khan was also arrested in connection with an ICT case.

On July 2, the cabinet secretary told the media that the formation of the committee could take some time. But the committee’s formation was announced later that night.
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