Prime minister Manmohan Singh has set up a Group of Ministers on the inclusion of Jats in the central list of OBCs,a move that is clearly aimed at wooing the influential community which holds sway in Haryana,Rajasthan and parts of Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh ahead of the general elections.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram will head the GoM with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde,Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja and Minister of State in charge of Personnel V Narayansamy as members.The GoM will expedite the issue,according to a government note which underlines the need for early action.
The GoM has two limited terms of reference to engage with representatives of the Jat community periodically and to apprise itself of the progress of the survey of the Jat community being conducted by the NCBC through ICSSR in six states. The survey had been proposed by the government to identify Jat population and their level of backwardness after the community had launched an agitation.
Since the survey was sanctioned,teams of experts from ICSSR have been studying socio-economic conditions of Jats in UP,Madhya Pradesh,Himachal Pradesh,Rajasthan,Gujarat and Haryana. The report is to be submitted to the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister. It will then be decided whether to include Jats in the central OBC list.
As of now,Jats have been designated as OBCs in some states like Delhi,Rajasthan and UP. They have been demanding 27 per cent reservation in the OBC quota with the Jat Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti,a body lobbying for reservation,threatening to disrupt supply of essentials like milk to the national capital if the government does not agree to the demands.
Jat leaders in the Congress,including Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,have been pressuring the government on the issue. During his tenure as home minister,Chidambaram had assured several Jat delegations that he would ask the National Commission for Backward classes to expedite the report on the demand for inclusion of Jats in the central list of OBCs.
Terms of reference
To Engage with representatives of the Jat community periodically
To apprise itself of the progress of the survey of the Jat community being conducted by the NCBC through ICSSR in six states