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The central government has relaxed the recruitment criteria for SC and ST candidates in Tripura State Rifles (TSR) from a minimum qualification of 10th pass to 8th pass, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said Monday.

Addressing a press conference at the state secretariat, Deb said, “MHA had granted us two India Reserve (IR) battalions for TSR. But the old recruitment guidelines were revised by the central government and 10th pass was mandated as a minimum qualification. We have a large number of candidates from SC and ST categories who were facing problems appearing in the recruitment examination as equal qualification was mandated across the country,” the CM told reporters. The recruitment required all the personnel to have acquired a minimum of Madhyamik (10th) pass certificate.

The CM said that after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh and writing to him seeking relaxation in the norms, a letter from MHA finally arrived on Thursday mentioning the relaxation in recruitment norms for SC and ST by allowing 8th pass as a minimum qualification for recruitment in the IR battalions.

Shortly after assuming office in March 2018, Deb had said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approved two additional India Reserve (IR) battalions for TSR, for which Rs 50 crore was sanctioned. However, even after a year from the announcement of the decision, no recruitment has been made in the counter-insurgency force.

“A large number of ST candidates will now have employment opportunities and get income. We, at the state government, thank Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the decision,” Biplab Deb said. A total of 2,014 youths would be inducted in Tripura State Rifles to raise the two additional IR battalions.

The TSR was formed as per Tripura State Rifles Act, 1983 passed in the Tripura Legislative Assembly. The first battalion of the force came into existence on March 12, 1984. Currently, there are twelve battalions of TSR in the state.