The Gujarat government has planned 22 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (SC) in contractual government and semi-government appointments, given that the state government has not opened jobs for over a decade. To be announced soon, under the year-long 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar with Rs 125-crore budget, the state government has worked out 7 per cent reservation for Dalits and 15 per cent for STs in all contractual government and semi-government jobs. December 6 marks Ambedkar’s death anniversary.
This has been decided given that the Gujarat government has not opened up regular appointments since late ’90s and makes up by contractual and fixed pay appointments. It has also rolled out preference for Dalits in the open merit system. In addition to the already implemented ‘zero backlog’ scheme for SCs, 100 per cent filling up of all reserved seats is a part of the Ambedkar celebration year which began last April 14.
“Various meetings have already been conducted with the social justice and empowerment department after which 7 and 15 per cent reservation have been worked out for SCs and STs, respectively, in appointments which are under fixed pay based on certain agreements between the employer and employee and the eleven month contractual appointments or the similar ones outsourced to private contractors. For instance, if 100 appointments are done on contractual basis, 7 seat would be reserved for SCs and 15 for STs. Till now, there is no such provision in government and semi-government jobs,” said Pravin Pandya, chairman of Gujarat Scheduled Caste Most Backward Caste Development Corporation (GSCMBCDC) under the Social Welfare and Justice (SWJ) department.
According to the pamphlets circulated in villages and urban areas by the SWJ department, the benefits for SCs to mark the celebrations touch every government department. Apart from the benefits, various events and inaugurations, along with laying of foundation stones, are also planned during the year.
One of the major projects also includes building a complex in Devni Mori in Aravalli district where the remains of Lord Buddha were found, as a research centre to propagate teachings and philosophies of Lord Buddha with Babasaheb Ambedkar. at the cost of Rs 18 crore, besides a complex to be built in Vadodara for Rs 10 crore, which was considered Ambedkar’s ‘Sankalp bhoomi’.
The state government also promises special emphasis on maximum inclusion of beneficiaries from SCs in various housing and health schemes recently launched by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.
The annual celebration plan with an estimated budget of Rs 125 crore includes a hike in financial assistance to SC victims of atrocities. For instance, in case of murder, assistance to the victim be increased from the current Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.50 lakh. Grievous injury and rape victims from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.8 lakh, and other cases victims — from Rs 60,000 to Rs 90,000.
The government also plans to include those Dalits who are not in the BPL list under Dr Ambedkar Awaas Yojana. “Efforts to include maximum beneficiaries from SCs under Sardar Awaas Yojana, Indira Awaas Yojana and Mukhyamantri Shaheri Awaas Yojana. Maximum benefit to ‘safai kamdars’ and their families under Dr Ambedkar Safai Kamdar Awaas Yojana. Compulsory attached toilets in all new settlements and campaign to construct toilets in already built up settlements,” are some of the schemes listed out in the plan. Pandya said, “With various schemes and benefits to be carried as a part of this celebration, the estimated budget would easily cross Rs 125 crore. For instance, soon a camp would be organised to give 200 autorickshaws, bonds under Mahila Samrudhi Yojana to 500 women and microfinance loan to another 500 to the tune of Rs 8.40 crore.”
Out of total 36 castes under the SC, 12 are categorised as most backward identified for special treatment and exclusive schemes formulated for their benefit under the GSCMBCDC.