Bill seeking 80% reservation for local people still pending

GANGTOK, Feb 9 : A bill to woo voters ahead of the assembly elections in Sikkim seeking 80 per cent employment for local people is still pending with the President after the former governor did not give assent to it and referred it to her.

The bill is still pending with the President for consideration, Assembly Secretariat officials confirmed to PTI.

The then governor Sudarshan Agarwal had referred the bill to the President for consideration about six months ago.

Exercising his discretionary powers, Agrawal chose not not to dispose of the Sikkim Promotion of Local Employment Bill (Bill No. 18 of 2008) after having refused to give his assent to an identical bill (bill no. 9 of 2008) which had proposed to reserve 95 employment for the locals.

He stated that it was in contravention of Articles 14, 15 and 19(1) (g) of the Constitution and the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to the upper limit prescribed for the purpose of reservation.

The former governor, whose tenure came to an end in July last year, forwarded the bill to the President for her consideration under Clause 2 of Article 254 of the constitution before demitting office.

The proposal to reserve a significantly high percentage of employment opportunities for the Sikkimese people had appeared to have become a matter of prestige for the Chamling government after it was forced to withdraw the legislation for 95 per cent reservation of employment for locals on the floor of the house last year when it was not approved by the then governor.

The state government, however, wasted no time and came up with a new draft legislation seeking to reserve 80 per cent employment for the local people and introduced it during another session of the state assembly and got it passed by the members unanimously by a voice vote. The proposed bill on promotion of local employment had proposed to percolate the benefits of reservation in employment to all sections of the society in Sikkim.

It proposed to reserve employment at 10 per cent each for the wards of the traders/old settlers and the floating population, besides seeking to reserve 80 per cent employment strictly for locals having the Sikkim Subject Certificate or the Certificate of Identification.