Of the 10 key ministries/departments, which together employ more than 90 per cent of Central government employees, nine have a large number of unfilled vacancies in the OBC category, the government has told a Parliamentary panel.
In a written reply to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, whose members have been demanding that the OBC quota be enhanced beyond the mandated 27 per cent, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions said 11,797 unfilled or ‘backlog OBC vacancies’ exist in these departments. The maximum number of unfilled vacancies — 3,393 — is in the Home department, followed by 2,988 in Revenue and 1,425 in Finance and 1,268 in Defence. Railways is the only one in the ministry’s list that has zero OBC backlog.
A number of the members in the Select Committee, which on Friday adopted the report on granting Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, had earlier raised concerns over the backlog vacancies under the OBC, SC and ST quota.
The vacancies exist despite special drives by the government to fill them. The 10 departments had 40,562 vacancies, of which 28,765 were filled by March 31 this year.
The ministry told the panel that OBCs representation in ministries/departments of the Central government, including their attached and subordinate offices, has, as on January 1 last year, improved to 20 per cent from the 14.85 per cent of January 1, 2011. The ministry also said it has held six meetings with these 10 departments to monitor the progress in filling up the backlog.
An analysis of figures reveal that Railways, which had 2,204 backlog vacancies, filled it up entirely by March this year and the Financial Services department under the Ministry of Finance, which had the maximum backlog vacancies at 14,455, recruited 13,030 OBC candidates. The Home department filled up 8,164 of 11,557 vacancies and the HRD 571 of 1,557 vacancies. The Urban Development department could only fill up 95 of the 692 backlog OBC vacancies.
The meetings of the panel also saw demands to break the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation and doing away with the creamy layer in the OBC quota.
While the government made it clear that it was for the state governments to decide the percentage of quota in states, a number of members rued the fact there was “a lot of difference” in quota in various states.
The demands were raised in a number of meeting of the panel since April 17, sources privy to the proceedings of the panel said. Angry over the responses of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Congress member B K Hariprasad went to the extent of calling it a “toothless ministry” that “cannot do anything”. CPI member T K Rangarajan wondered why some states provided 40 per cent while others were able to provide 69 per cent reservation.
Members pointed out that while it is 69 per cent in Tamil Nadu, 50 per cent in Karnataka, 40 per cent in Kerala and 38 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand, the reservation is less than 20 per cent.