Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale has said that his ministry will take up the issue of introducing reservation in private sector jobs for the Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes.
Athawale told The Indian Express, “A major chunk of the jobs are being generated in the private sector. This has led to fewer employment opportunities in government jobs and therefore reservation in government jobs alone is not benefiting Dalits. It is necessary to ensure that jobs are reserved in the private sector too. We could start by at least ensuring that reservations are implemented in the public sector utilities that are being privatised.”
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Presently approximately 49.9 per cent of the government jobs are reserved for those from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes. Athawale, who handles issues related to SCs and OBCs in the Social Justice ministry said, “Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had raised the issue of the need for reservations in private sector and the UPA government had even constituted a committee to examine its possibility. However, nothing much came of it.”
The Dalit leader from RPI (A) is at present preparing to field his candidates in alliance with the the BJP to counter BSP chief Mayawati in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls.
The National Commission for Other Backward Classes had earlier this year passed a resolution on the need for reservation for OBCs in the private sector.
“The resolution points out that the 1990 Mandal Commission recommendation, saying that all private sector undertakings which have received financial assistance from the government in any form should reserve 27 per cent of jobs for the OBCs, has never been implemented,” said Commission member Ashok Saini.
The resolution emphasises the need for a central legislation providing 27-per cent reservation in “private sector, joint sector, co-operative enterprises and NGOs”.
Athawale has also been pressing for increasing the existing reservation of 49.5 per cent to 75 per cent so as to accommodate the economically backward classes from forward castes. He said, “There has to be a constitutional amendment so that the benefit of reservation in jobs and education can be extended to the poor among communities that have witnessed agitations over quota demands.
These include the Marathas, Rajputs, Jats, Patels, Gujjars and even the Brahmins.”