Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sprinting backward – Jats, Reservation, Law and Order

In most parts of the world being socially backward is considered as a handicap. However, in India communities fights to include their names in backward list. Everyone want to a get a part of the cake called reservation – an affirmative action mentioned in the constitution. One such community which violently push this idea forward in recent days is Jats.

Are they eligible for reservation? Let’s consider the background before answering this question. Two backward commissions set up - in 1995, 2011 - excluded Jats from Backward group. Even after excluding Jats from eligible communities for reservation list, political parties offered reservation for them during 2004 election campaign. In 2011, KC Gupta commission - formed after an agitation in April 2011 - recommended the inclusion of Jats and four other castes in Special Backward Class (SBC). Later - before elections - then Hooda government of Haryana granted 10% quota to Jats knowing very well that, it would be quashed by Supreme Court.

Interestingly K C Gupta Commission also states that,
a. Jats already have 17.82% representation in Class 1 and Class 2 government jobs.
b. In educational institutes it is 10.35%.
c. Only 10% of Jats are landless.

In addition to this, out of 10 CMs of Haryana till now 7 are Jats.

The question of why Jats are asking for reservation is indeed an interesting one to consider. Take a look at Haryana’s reservation policies, only 17 (out of 80) doesn't have their name in the list (notification of SC and OBC). So you can’t entirely blame Jats for asking reservation, if everyone is getting the benefits, then why don’t give a try?

The entire policy is skewed. I agree with affirmative action and empowering poor to come forward to mainstream. But it should only for communities who are really backward. To an extent, I believe India’s ST list is fine, but GoI and state government has to take a serious look at SC, OBC and EBC list (this should not be an encyclopaedia of India’s castes).

Current offer to Jats are, government will prepare a draft bill for reservation and bring it in coming assembly session beginning March 17.

However, everyone knew it very well that this bill will not withstand judicial review. Haryana already have 27% reservation for OBCs, 20% SCs, 3% for disabled. As per earlier rulings, reservation is not to be exceed beyond 50%. So there isn't even 1 % left to offer. So this new reservation has to be carved out from existing numbers which will of course make other communities angry. If government is trying to solve the problem in that way, then we may have to prepare for next set of riots.

They real problem is Jats did rioting in massive scale and damaged hundreds of crores worth of public and private properties. They even damaged rail roads and critical canal which supply water to New Delhi.

This riot is not in response for any sudden event, but against a long standing issue. Hence it is not possible that, everything happened all of a sudden. This might be in cooking stage for some time. How come the state administration and police didn’t know about this in advance? Either the administration knew it very well and did nothing (In that case central and state government has to take a serious look at the way they are running the state) or they are clueless (In this case both state and central government has to revamp state CID department and other police departments responsible for intelligence gathering).  



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