BJP Government’s 2016 Domicile Policy Backstabs Jharkhand’s Natives

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For more than six decades, the Jharkhandi natives, both Adivasis and Moolvasis, had tirelessly led popular people’s movement for the creation of separate state for them within the provisions of our Indian constitution. The natives wanted a separate state for the natives, of the natives and by the natives. They always dreamt about it. Finally, their agitation succeeded and our Jharkhand state was created by the union government in November 2000.

One of the major grievances that led to the carving out of a separate state was the fact that the local Jharkhandis always felt cheated by the government policies that handed over most of the jobs and the businesses created in their homeland to the outsiders. It was true for both the private sectors as well as the public sectors. Even the jobs in the various government departments and the government enterprises were being cornered by the recent immigrants or the so called outsiders from neighbouring states. And this kind of gross injustice continued even in the post independence India and sadly it continues even now in 2016.

As I have written in the past, that my Jharkhand state is a rich land populated by poor people; and this face can be ascertained by the numerous socio-economic reports of our Government.

For instance, the poverty level in Jharkhand, as measured by the Tendulkar Committee, is one of the highest amongst all large states with high levels in both rural and the urban parts. The Poverty in Jharkhand is generally associated with inaccessibility, and the lack of basic facilities and economic opportunities. Chronic poverty seems to be disproportionately high among the historically marginalized groups, especially the tribal population. You can go ahead and read about the spatial poverty in Jharkhand in details here.

Poverty Grid of Jharkhand (Image Credit: Livemint)

Now given the above mentioned fact, why would any State Government deny its poverty stricken people their basic rights to the better economic opportunities in their home land, only to snatch it all away and hand it over to the recent immigrants to our state. It is not only unethical but downright cruel on the part of the democratic government of the state, to deny Jharkhandi natives their rightful domicile rights.

Tragically, that’s what happened in my Jharkhand state; now let us look at what the Chief Minister Raghubar Das and BJP government did with the Domicile Policy of our Jharkhand state.

Anyone residing within the geographical region of Jharkhand for at least 30 years will be considered a local resident, the state government announced on Thursday.

Right after the announcement of the said policy, the angry reactions and voices of protest by natives started to pour in. Even as the year 2016 is about to come to an end, there is no sign of truce.

I remember at that time according to the popular political grapevine doing the rounds on the Domicile policy was that being a migrant from neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the Chief Minister wanted his own name to be accommodated in his version of the domicile policy; hence the cut-off period was duly revised.

Not so long ago, speaking at the political rally in Jharkhand the Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar scoffed, “I fail to understand why Jharkhand was separated from Bihar? Was it because it wanted to hand over its reins of Government to an immigrant from Chattishgarh?” His political statement was perhaps an apt reminder.

When you interact with the commoners in Jharkhand, you are likely to hear their lament that even Bihar-Raj was much better than the present day exploitative rule of BJP Government here. They often complaint, “The incumbent government is all too eager to hand over our entire Jharkhand state to the corporate and the outsiders, even our jobs and our businesses.”

Such fears and the misgivings are not at all baseless.

For a state with nearly 40% of its populace living below poverty line, grappling with the challenging problems like poverty, unemployment, forced-migrations, Maoism-threats, etc., the 2016 Domicile Policy is akin to a tight-slap on the face of Jharkhandi natives. It takes the jobs and employment opportunities from the plates of natives and gives it to neo-migrants; who I believe are in much better position than natives, both socially and economically terms.

Seriously, why can’t Jharkhand Government take care of Jharkhandi? What’s the use of such a faulty Domicile policy that does not take care of the hopes and the aspirations of the Jharkhandi people?

I believe, on flawed Domicile policy the Jharkhand Government at least owes explanations to its Jharkhandi natives, for whom this state was created, after half a century of popular agitations.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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