The Jharkhand Cabinet Tuesday decided to set up a cabinet sub-committee to redefine who would be treated as a domicile. The sub-committee comprising three members will define the term ‘Jharkhandi’, based on which a local employment policy will be enacted.
The state domicile has always been a contentious matter. Following the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, the first Chief Minister, Babulal Marandi, thought it was necessary to define a ‘Jharkhandi’, as it would help in rolling out benefits including government jobs to local people. However, in 2003, Marandi resigned over this issue.
The tribal population in the state has been demanding 1932 as the cut-off date while taking into account proof of land records. But, according to experts, Marandi had mentioned 1964 as the cut-off date. This led to wide-spread protest as non-tribals believed that the 1932 cut-off date would take away their right since many came after it.
However, after 2002, successive government have refrained from touching the issue until CM Raghubar Das’s government, which came to power in 2014, notified a “relaxed domicile policy” in 2016, mentioning six ways in which one could be treated as a domicile of the state. First, a person is called a resident if his or her father’s name is in the land records. The gram sabha can identify in case a person is landless. Second, people who are into business or have been employed for the past 30 years or more in the state along with their heirs will be considered a resident. The rest include people who are employed by the state or central government in Jharkhand, have held any constitutional or statutory posts along with their spouses or children, or people who were born in the state and completed their matriculation or equivalent examination. Experts, however, say that Das’s policy was flawed as it did not give priority to tribals, for whom the state was created.
Following the formation of the Hemant Soren government in December last year, JMM president Shibu Soren had said that 1932 Khatiyan (proof of land document of a person) should be made the cut-off date to formulate the ‘Sthaniya Niti’ (domicile policy).
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