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“We want revision of quota system, but the circular should remain in place during the revision process”

quota  system
Daily Star News

In the wake of the student movement, the quota system in government jobs was canceled through a circular issued by the Ministry of Public Administration in 2018. In view of a writ, the High Court recently canceled that circular. Then the movement started again. This movement is going on under the banner of ‘anti-discrimination student movement’. Dhaka University students are leading this platform Nahid Islam. He spoke to Prothom Alo about the ongoing movement and the overall situation. Interviewed him Asif Howladerред

What are your specific demands in the ongoing anti-quota movement?

Nahid Islam:

We have talked about four point demands. Tried to outline an outline, so that quota disparity in government jobs can be removed permanently. The demands are that the quota system in government jobs announced in 2018 should be canceled and the merit-based recruitment circular should be maintained; Subject to the upholding of that circular, a commission should be formed as soon as possible to eliminate unreasonable and discriminatory quotas in all grades in government jobs and consider only the backward communities as per the constitution; Quota facility cannot be used more than once in the recruitment examination of government jobs and if there are no qualified candidates in the quota, the vacant posts should be appointed on the basis of merit; And effective measures must be taken to ensure a corruption-free, impartial and merit-based bureaucracy.

What are your arguments for the claim?

Nahid Islam:

There is nothing new to say that the 56 percent quota system creates a disparity and is contrary to equality of opportunity for citizens. After the abolition of quota in 2018, talented people were interested in government jobs. The country would benefit from it.

Regarding the first claim, we want to say that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stood in the National Parliament and announced the cancellation of quota in the context of a movement in 2018. Later, the Ministry of Public Administration issued a circular and canceled the quota from the first and second classes. Now, if it is canceled by the High Court’s verdict, then the movement of 2018 has become a farce. The quota system can be reassessed, but not through the courts as such. It is a matter of government policy.

This circular was issued in the context of agitation and public opinion. So any decision on quota should be made in a logical and democratic process. We wanted revision of the quota system, we still want it. But the circular of 2018 shall remain in force during this revision process.

We will not accept the return of the 56 percent quota in any way.

Regarding the second claim, we think that quota discrimination should be eliminated in all grades, not only first and second classes. However, according to the constitution, minimum quota should be kept only for the backward communities. Apart from this, the rest of the unreasonable and discriminatory quotas should be removed. Grandchildren or third generation quota or pet quota of brave freedom fighters, we think such quota is unreasonable.

The third claim is important because the use of quotas should also be reduced in Haredar. Certain boundaries need to be fixed, such as stopping quota benefits in multiple jobs.

The fourth claim is that corruption is a major problem in the current bureaucracy. It also needs to be considered whether there is any connection of corruption with the previous quota system. To ensure an efficient bureaucracy for the state, a corruption-free, impartial and merit-based administration must be formed


What do you think about the court’s order?

Nahid Islam:

Students did not get justice in the High Court verdict. So they came down the street. The July 4 hearing has been adjourned. The full judgment of the High Court is not yet available. The executive department and the government have to take the responsibility for creating a new quota problem. We want to ask the government why the 2018 circular was cancelled? Through this the promise given to the students has been broken. Since the High Court quashed the order of the Executive, the State appealed on procedural grounds. But we did not get any response from the government. Why will talented students be deprived due to this lack of coordination of various departments of the state apparatus?

How are the students responding to the ongoing movement?

Nahid Islam:

Students across the country are spontaneously forming a movement. Lack of employment in the country, rise in commodity prices – bringing back the quota system in government jobs in such a socio-economic situation means pushing the back against the wall. Talents must either leave the country or claim their rights. Ignoring all obstacles, the students will remain in the movement.

How optimistic are you about the demand through the movement?

Nahid Islam:

We are fully optimistic. It has been proven once in 2018. 2024 will prove again.

What is your next plan at this stage of the movement?

Nahid Islam: We will continue the street movement. We are thinking of an all-out blockade program in all major cities including Dhaka. We are conducting dialogue with student representatives from all over the country. It is not just a student movement. Parents and civil society will also be invited to join us. It is not possible to build a prosperous Bangladesh if the future and policy making of the state is not in the hands of talented people.



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