SC/ST body chief slams BSP, Jan Shakti
HT Correspondent
(New Delhi, December 17)

CHAMPIONING THE cause of reservation for backward classes in various sectors, SC/ST Confederation chairman Ram Raj criticised political parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party and the more recent Jan Shakti for not being sincere.

Mr Ram Raj said it was evident that issues like expanding the scope of reservation for dalits and SC/ST did not interest these parties because both Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati made no mention about them in their respective mass rallies held recently in the Capital. He charged that both the parties had no agenda and had been drawing political mileage out of non-issues.

The All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes and Tribes Organisations was constituted in 1997, when the United Front government was in power. "At that time, the Department of Personnel and Training issued five office memorandums that were against the reservation policy. Of these, two have already been withdrawn and we want that the remaining three should also be taken back," said Mr Ram Raj.

Summing the key points raised by him at a mass rally that was organised in the city on December 11, Mr Ram Raj said that reservation was the only means of progress and development of the underprivileged.

He demanded that this benefit should also be extended at the levels of higher judiciary and private sector. At the end of the meet, Mr Ram Raj had presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee containing the demands of the dalits. The rally was the fourth one organised by the Confederation in support of the reservation cause. The first such rally was held on November 26, 1997.

"The government should offer incentives like tax holidays and other concessions to private companies extending reservation to SC/STs," Mr Ram Raj said. He, however, said that the country should not open its gates to private players as it was taking a toll on the indigenous small-scale industries. He maintained that the bureaucrats were fooling the government with their globalisation talk.

"Privatisation, if at all it has to be done, should be highly selective and only in the best interests of the country. Contrary to the belief that the multi-national companies would provide employment, lakhs of people are being rendered jobless as most of the Indians are not educated enough to handle their sophisticated machinery,'' he said. Criticising the proposal to review the Indian Constitution, he said that there was nothing wrong with the statute in its present form.

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