Jharkhand cabinet defers quota policy in govt jobs
The Times of India News Service
RANCHI:The cabinet on Friday deferred the vexed issue of the states' reservation policy in government jobs and instead constituted asix-member cabinet sub-committee headed by the welfare minister, Arjun Munda which would study all legal aspects of reservation as well as its implementation in other states and submit its report to the government in 10 days' time.
The other committee members are Lalchand Mahto, P N Singh, Ramchander Singh, Ramjilal Sarda and Sudesh Mahto.
The chief minister, Babulal Marandi, had last week decided to reserve 60 per cent seats in government jobs with 27 per cent reservation for scheduled tribes (STs), 11 per cent for scheduled castes (SCs) and rest 22 per cent for backward classes.
This had stirred a hornet's nest with the Adivasi Janadhikaar Manch comprising tribal students and outfits which had threatened dire consequences if the government did not make at least 60 per cent reservation for scheduled tribes (STs) alone.
Ministers in Babulal's cabinet were also divided over the issue with most of them arguing that backward classes should not be ignored.
The government had sought the opinion of the advocate general, M M Banerjee in February this year on the matter. The AG had opined that in accordance with a ruling of the Supreme Court in 1996, reservation in government jobs should not be more than 50 per cent, but in certain cases of extremely backward classes living in far-flung areas, the limit could be liberalised somewhat.
Speaking to TOINS after the cabinet meeting on Friday, the chief minister said that his intention to reserve 60 per cent in the state's government jobs was well-intended and there was nothing unconstitutional or illegal about it. "The cabinet decided that since this was a sensitive issue, more time should be given on studying various aspects of reservation after which it would come to a decision", Marandi said. Though the government is not in a hurry, it is nevertheless a fact that a number of government posts are lying vacant which need to be filled immediately, he added.
Marandi said that in 1994, the Bihar government had conducted a census of backward classes in the state according to which Jharkhand accounted for 32 percent. Whereas Bihar had reserved 24 per cent for the BCs at that time he had only recommended 22 per cent, he said.
Further advocating reservation of 22 per cent and 11 pc for scheduled castes and backward classes respectively, Marandi said that in states like Orissa and Tamil Nadu the reservation limit had been stretched upto 60-70 per cent since the states had substantial number of extremely backward people.
About the AJM taking to the streets and threatening to put Jharkhand on fire if 60 per cent reservation was not given to tribals, the chief minister said that his government was prepared for any consequence and if the state was put on fire, the tribals themselves would not escape the flames.