A secretary-level committee for a review of the quota system in public service recruitment is yet to finalise its report although the protesters’ deadline for publication of gazette notification reforming the quota will expire on August 31.
The committee on Sunday held a meeting with cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam in the chair at his office as it had already got opinion from the attorney general over the issue.
‘The committee is examining quota related reports collected from different sources in home and abroad,’ said public administration ministry joint secretary Abul Kashem Md Mohiuddin, who was providing secretarial support to the seven-member committee.
He, however, declined to say anything about the opinion of the attorney general as the committee was supposed to seek Supreme Court’s opinion on the preservation of 30 per cent quota for freedom fighters’ children and grandchildren.
‘The committee is still working and scrutinising reports available to prepare its report,’ Abul Kashem said after the meeting.
On August 13, Mohammad Shafiul Alam said that ‘almost all quotas’ in public service recruitment might be abolished, but the government would seek Supreme Court’s opinion on the 30 per cent quota for freedom fighters’ children and grandchildren.
At a briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting, he said that the secretary-level committee primarily recommended ‘abolishment of almost all quotas.’
There would be no quota if the court drops the freedom fighters’ family quota, the cabinet secretary said.
He said that the 30 per cent quota for freedom fighters’ children and grandchildren could not be abolished right now claiming that ‘there is a Supreme Court verdict for maintenance of the quota for them.’
The cabinet secretary shared their primary recommendations a day after protesters for reform of the quota system on August 12 threatened to launch a tougher movement paralysing the country from September if their detained fellows were not released before the Eid-ul-Azha and a gazette notification reforming the quota system was not published by August 31.
Students and jobseekers took to the streets on February 17 and continued protests for reducing the quota in government jobs to 10 per cent from the existing 56 per cent, including 10 per cent for women and 10 per cent for districts, 5 per cent for ethnic minorities and 1 per cent for physically challenged people.
The government on July 2 formed the seven-member committee to reform or abolish the quota system in the face of protests that continued amid attacks and intimidation by the police and ruling Awami League-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League.
The committee that includes secretaries from the Prime Minister’s Office, public administration ministry, finance division, legislative division, Liberation War affairs ministry and Public Service Commission was initially given 15 working days to submit the report. The timeframe was later extended to 90 working days.
Amid countrywide protests for reform of the quota system, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 told parliament that there would be no quota in government jobs.
Later on July 12, she warned in parliament that actions would be taken against any anarchy in the protests for reform of quota and said that the freedom fighters’ quota could not be changed because of a High Court verdict.