Protests have been taking place in Telangana over the past few days demanding the state government to revoke Government Order (GO) 317 which was introduced on December 6, 2021. The GO, pertaining to Telangana Public Employment, has introduced a zonal system in the allocation of jobs. The new system was formulated after Telangana was reorganized into 31 new districts from 10 in 2016; and new districts like Asifabad, Bhupalapally, Mancherial, etc. were created.
As per the GO, the District Collector and the concerned Head of the Department in that district will be part of the allotment committee deciding on jobs and transfers for the district cadre posts. For zonal and multizonal posts, the decision will rest with the Principal Secretary, Special Chief Secretary, Head of the Department, and Senior Consultant to the government.
On Tuesday, December 28, several teachers abstained from duties and laid siege to the Secretariat in Hyderabad, protesting against the governmentâ€™s decision. The protestors were detained by police, leading to mild tension. The agitating employees are objecting to the GO, stating that the government took the decision unanimously without consulting them. According to them, the GO does not consider the nativity of the employees and allocating permanent posts and transferring them to other districts.
Further, protesters alleged that there are discrepancies in the preparation of the allocation list. They claim that seniority was given priority in the allotment to districts, but the seniority list is riddled with errors â€“ a few government teachers, for instance, who have contacts of higher-ups were securing postings in cities and towns, they said. Meanwhile, others were being forced to move to remote areas in permanent allocation despite higher seniority and despite not being natives of the new locations.
Upadhyaya Sanghala Porata Committee (UPSC), which is spearheading the agitation, claimed that the main purpose of bringing in the new zonal system is defeated as officials are allegedly ignoring nativity in transfers â€“ people are being assigned jobs in locations they are not native to. The protesting teachers also demanded that the government consider allocating transfers for spouses in the same district.
The GO reads, â€śif the spouses are working under the state government, local bodies and state government institutions are allotted to different cadres, an option will be provided to apply for change of cadre. Subject to administrative needs and availability of vacancies, and as far as practicable, spouses will be accommodated in one local cadre.â€ť
Besides teachers, Adivasi organisations also have been protesting demanding the GO to be repealed. They express fear that GO 317 would dilute the protection given to Adivasis under the Fifth Schedule, as the GO does not specify Adivasi agency area-specific allotment of cadres. Agency areas are specially protected zones with Adivasi populations. Under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, Adivasis areas have certain special provisions, such as any decision taken there needing to have the President's assent.
On Monday, Adivasi organisation, Tudum Debba, gave a call for a one-day bandh in Adilabad district.
Speaking to TNM, Tudum Debba Adilabad President Godam Ganesh said, â€śGO 317 is a general GO. It allows plain area employees to move to tribal agency areas and vice versa. We fear that many mainland employees working in agency areas would hesitate to go back to their native districts because they would not be senior enough for their cadre posts there. They may continue to work in agencies and affect the prospects of Adivasis getting employment.â€ť
â€śNon-Adivasis becoming locals and buying property in agency areas will also jeopardize our culture and traditions. Already several such violations have been happening,â€ť he added.
Both the BJP and Congress have demanded that the government revoke the GO, alleging that the new zonal system was causing hardships for the employees.