All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has lodged a complaint to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) “against non-inclusion of Scheduled Tribes languages of Manipur in the Test of Specified opted local language in the Recruitment of Junior Associates (Customer Support & Sales) of State Bank of India (SBI) advertised on April 27, 2021 vide Advertisement No.CRPD/CR/2021-22/09”.
In the complaint addressed to Harsh Chouhan, chairperson of NCST, ATSUM said, “In sudden amazement of the tribal populace of Manipur state, only Meitei /Manipuri language is included in the Test of Specified opted local language in the case of Manipur state in the recruitment of Junior Associates (Customer Support & Sales) of State Bank of India (SBI) advertised on April 27, 2021 vide Advertisement No.CRPD/CR/2021-22/09”. The apex tribal student body of Manipur also said that in the selection procedure of the recruitment, test of specified opted local language was incorporated wherein it was stated that “Those who qualify for selection and produce 10th or 12th standard mark sheet/ certificate evidencing having studied the specified opted local language will not be subjected to any Language test. In case of others (qualified for selection), specified opted local language test will be conducted after provisional selection but before joining. Candidates not found proficient in specified opted local language would be disqualified”. ATSUM added that the local language referred and opted here in the recruitment is the language of the Meitei community belonging to general category excluding the language of the 34 recognised schedule tribes.
However, the tribal student body said that, Manipur being a diverse state has 34 Scheduled Tribes (ST) recognised under the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) orders, 1950 (PART III. – Rules and orders under the constitution) Part X. – Manipur. It further said that the Scheduled Tribes constitute 34.2% of the total population of the Manipur state according to 2001 census. It also said that the Scheduled Tribes community speaks their own different languages, and that most of the languages of the recognised Scheduled Tribes are incorporated as a Major Indian Language (MIL) as a part of standard curriculum in the schools and educational institutions. “For which, tribal people normally opted to study their own language (MIL) or Additional English in lieu of Meitei/Manipuri language in Class 10th and Class 12th standards. As such, mandating the scheduled tribes candidates to produce 10th/12th standard certificate of studying Meitei/Manipuri language or conducting Meitei/Manipuri language proficiency test is unfair,” ATSUM added.
“It is pertinent to note that most of the schedule tribe communities are not proficient with the Meitei/Manipuri languages and most of the Meitei/ Manipuri community are not well versed with the schedule tribe languages,” ATSUM said. In this regard, according to the tribal student body, inclusion of only Meitei/Manipuri languages in the Test of Specified opted local language in the on-going Recruitment of Junior Associates (Customer Support & Sales) of State Bank of India in case of Manipur state tantamount to imposition of “dominant general category Meitei/Manipuri language” on the innocent tribal people and thereby, systematically discriminating substantial numbers of potential candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribe communities.
“Therefore, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur beseeches your office for kind and prompt intervention into the matter to ensure that either each of recognised scheduled Tribes Languages of Manipur are included in the Test of Specified opted local language or the schedule tribe candidates are exempted from the purview of the Test of Specified opted local language in the on-going Recruitment of Junior Associates (Customer Support & Sales) and other future recruitments of State Bank of India in the case of Manipur state so as to facilitate a judicious and fair recruitment process,” it added.
ATSUM then said this complaint was made to enable that the Scheduled Tribe communities of Manipur state also enjoy the provision of the “equal employment opportunity as mandated by Article 16 of the Indian Constitution”.