Backward caste panel nixed Jat quota earlier
By Cithara Paul - NEW DELHI
Published: 15th Sep 2013 08:03:30 AM
The UPA Government has decided to grant reservations to Jats in Central Government services and has asked the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) to create a blue print for this.
The NCBC had already assigned the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) to study the socio-economic conditions of Jats in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. The survey started in August after the Jat Mahasabha in July, which was addressed by Ajit Singh. The deadline for completion was January 2014. Since the results have been delayed, the NCBC is under pressure to expedite the matter. According to the official, with elections a few months away, the government seems to be in a hurry now.
“We had conveyed to the Government that NCBC has no vested interest in the subject and had earlier made recommendations against Jat reservation on the basis of existing data. We also had told the Government that we will take a call once the ICSSR study is finalised. But now the Government wants us to sign on the dotted line,’’ said the official.
According to him, even though the ICSSR has just started its study, the government has already set up a GoM to take a call on the likely recommendation of the NCBC on the issue of Jat reservation. “It is ridiculous to say the least. Why was the GoM, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, set up when the survey is inconclusive and we are yet to analyse it?’’ asked the official.
The PM had set up the GoM towards the end of last month amidst IB reports warning of communal clashes in UP. The other members of the GoM include Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja and Minister of State for Personnel V Narayansamy.
When contacted, a Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment official said that the GoM was set up in haste as the Jat agitators needed to be updated on the ongoing survey.
But he preferred not to answer the question whether a GoM headed by the finance minister is needed to do follow-ups on a routine survey. The answer to the question, in fact, lies with Civil Aviation Minister and RLD leader Ajit Singh. He has apparently threatened to leave the government if it does not take a positive decision on the matter. The RLD would be the biggest loser if Jat votes get segregated on communal lines and has, hence, mooted the idea of blanket reservation. The Jat Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti, a body lobbying for the reservation with Ajit Singh’s support, had recently threatened to launch an agitation in Delhi if their long-standing demand for 27 per cent reservation in the OBC quota is not met.
-The Sunday Standard