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Reservations in private sector: a memorandum to prime minister of India

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UR/MP/2015/Conf/226                                                    7.12.2015

MEMORANDUM

Shri Narendra Modi Ji
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 001

Sir,
A large number of SC/ST employees and sympathizers from all over the country held a rally at Ramleela Maidan, New Delhi under the banner of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations for their legitimate rights and inclusive growth, and development of the country.
Reservation to SC/STs is normally perceived to be a hindrance to growth of economy and efficiency in administration.  Reservation was first started in the southern peninsula. In 1902, Shahu Ji Maharaj introduced reservation in Kolhapur state. The Justice Party Government introduced reservation in 1921 in Madras presidency, which included Andhra Pradesh. Reservation was introduced in Mysore state in 1921 and in Bombay Presidency in 1931. The Maharaja of Travancore introduced reservation in 1935, followed by Cochin. Currently, the cap on reservation is at 69% in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is one of the best administered states in the country. If we look at economic development, education and human health and development indices, south Indian states are comparatively better than north Indian states.  For the first time, Central Government introduced reservation in 1943. I don’t know whether I am arriving at the right conclusion, but situations do suggest that where there has been more inclusive administration and governance, things are better.
Not only India, but the world also knows that you are giving a clarion call for Make in India, Stand up India, Start up India, Digital India, Skill India and Clean India etc. SCs and STs constitute about 25% of the population and their exclusion from the fruits of industrialization and growth will alienate them on the one hand, and reduce their buying capacity on the other hand, which will also have ramifications on economic growth. If corporate sectors have grown faster in India, it is because of high number of consumers. If I include OBCs, then the population of categories under reservation is about 80%. Reservation gives them moral strength and buying capacity and growth of our economy is largely due to large numbers of consumers. Their inclusion in governance and other walks of life will enable them to start up entrepreneurship, trading and commercial activities, and hence reservation is facilitating the strengthening of national unity and GDP growth too.  
Ever since privatization began, mainly SCs and STs have started getting alienated not only from governance but also from economic activities. The Courts have been very ruthless towards these communities; the rights provided by legislatures are being continuously diluted by the judiciary. For instance, it was the Vajpayee Government which made 81st, 82nd and 85th Constitutional Amendments. The 85th Amendment pertains to reservation in promotion – this Amendment was litigated in the Supreme Court in 2006; the case is known as Nagaraj case. The 5 judges’ bench finally validated the 85th Amendment and placed certain conditions which were uncalled for, for example, reservation in promotion will be given only when backwardness of SCs and STs is tested again and again, there is no inadequate representation and it does not hamper efficiency of administration. As far as testing the backwardness is concerned, the moment SCs and STs are included in Articles 341 and 342 of the Indian Constitution, it is done so only because they are backward. Their backwardness is tested by Registrar General of India, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
The Lucknow High Court delivered its judgment on January 4th 2011, denying reservation in promotion in Uttar Pradesh. The state Government of the day referred the matter to the Supreme Court, which unfortunately ratified the decision of the High Court by the judgment of a 2 judge bench.  As per judicial practice, a smaller bench cannot alter the judgment of a larger bench, but it happened in this case. In December 2012, a Bill was passed to give reservation in promotion in Rajya Sabha, doing away with the anomalies created by Courts, but was unsuccessful in Lok Sabha.  The Samajwadi Party Government in Uttar Pradesh is unleashing a reign of terror and discrimination to the hilt; thousands of employees have been demoted. Those who were Chief Engineers have been reverted to Executive Engineers, and they are so demoralized that they have even lost the confidence to attend their offices, because they will have to work under their juniors. Height of discrimination was done where SCs and STs recruited through general merit were also reverted back. Thousands of Head constables and sub Inspectors recruited through general merit have been reverted to the rank of constables and head constables respectively. I request therefore that the Government introduces a Bill to facilitate reservation in promotion in this session itself to save them from such tyranny and discrimination.
Under your leadership, the country is taking a turn for the better and new hopes have dawned. It reminds me of the great destiny of the most revered President of America Abraham Lincoln who built a new foundation for the country by including blacks. It was he who saw to it that blacks were liberated; if the blacks were not liberated, it could have never been possible to have an equitable and justiciable society in America. Today, if America is a superpower, great credit goes to him; otherwise this social disharmony would have prevented America from reaching this level. Though there is no strict legislation to include blacks in the private sector, most of the businesses and corporate houses, cinemas, educational centers etc. feel proud to include blacks, Hispanics and aborigines, and recently Asians. The All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations, of which I am founder Chairman, was the first one to ask for reservation in private sector. The UPA Government in 2004 setup a committee of Ministers to consider providing reservation in private sector; after that, coordination committee in PMO and Group of Officers’ Committee, Ministry of Commerce were constituted but no logical conclusion was reached. Seeing the pressure on the Government to make legislation for reservation in private sector, business associations like FICCI, Assocham and CII rushed to the Government to not go ahead with it. They said they would voluntarily provide scope for SCs and STs to grow, and promised to prepare Indian Dalit entrepreneurship, provide tuitions, coaching and skill training; but that proved dismal. The previous Government talked high of including SCs and STs in procurement of goods and services by the Government; they made provision to avail 4% from SMEs run by these communities out of services and services procured by the Government. This could not see the light of the day till today and I request you to get this implemented. The SCs and STs are very hopeful that under your leadership, the hope of reservation in private sector would come through and it would be fitting that when on one hand, the Government is celebrating 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar and on the other hand, arranged a 2 day discussion in Parliament on the contribution of Dr. B R Ambedkar to Indian society and the Constitution.
It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has invalidated the 99th Constitutional Amendment which pertains to National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). Nowhere in the world do judges appoint judges, India is a unique example. In this way, judges have insulated themselves as God that they are perfect, cannot do any wrong; hence, no check on them is needed or permitted; contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. Imagine on the one hand, 5 Indian citizens, that is, 5 judges which form the collegium, and on the other hand, the will of the 125 crore Indians, expressed through their elected representatives in Parliament. Annulling the NJAC has proved that 5 citizens can overrule the will of 125 crore Indians. In America, it is the Senate which appoints judges, both houses of legislature in Germany select judges; we follow the British system which has selection commission and there are a number of examples of mature democracies where judges have no role in selecting judges. Collegium system has failed miserably as can be seen from the recent statement of Justice JB Pardiwala of the Gujarat High Court who has seen it right to compare reservation and corruption, saying that both are destroying the country. If this is the standard of judges selected by the collegium, it is indeed laughable that the judiciary feels that the legislature is not competent to appoint judges. I urge the Government to again amend the Constitution and ensure balance between the judiciary, executive and legislature. About 400 judges are going to be appointed, there is no hope that SC/STs and OBCs will be given representation under the collegium system and I therefore request to kindly ensure that they are given representation while filling up these vacancies.
If reservation is mainly for representation in governance, then SCP and TSP are for removal of poverty. As per philosophy of SCP and TSP, funds allocated out of plan budget should be in accordance with reservation policy. Fund allocation has never happened as per requirement and whatever is earmarked, that is also not being applied for SC/ST development. The approach to apply funds should be to benefit individuals or families directly, but it has often been flouted and funds are applied other than for targeted groups. In some cases, where the development is done for common use, bureaucrats apportion the population of SC/ST using that and justify the application of these funds which is absolutely incorrect. It has been a persistent demand that there should be a group or committee of committed people at the Centre, State and District levels to plan and monitor the SCP and TSP funds. I therefore demand that SCP and TSP allocations in the coming year should be made as per their objectives.
Sir, education is the key to developing human resources and most of SC/ST students go to Government schools which have are getting deteriorated day by day. In majority of schools and in some colleges and Universities, majority of students belong to SC, ST and OBC because they cannot afford high quality education in private sector. Though the Government has framed the Right to Education Act for universal education, but without ensuring quality education, it is almost meaningless. Quantum of scholarships has not increased with the pace of price rise and it has become extremely difficult to fund their education. For a long time, the provision of construction of hostels and schools for SC/STs has been curtailed whereas it should be increased.
Due to Article 370 of the Constitution, SCs and STs in Jammu and Kashmir have been denied reservation benefits – the problem is that even after the Parliament passes a law for reservation in promotion and other benefits, it has to be ratified by the Jammu & Kashmir assembly. Similarly, the 77th, 81st, 82nd and 85th Constitutional Amendments are also not applicable to J&K – on account of this apathy, thousands are suffering and are being denied their rights; if the state Government is not giving benefit under these laws, then its own Reservation Act of 2004 should be followed and implemented. I urge upon you to advise the state Government to ensure that all due benefits of which SC/STs in J&K are deprived be immediately provided to them.
Privatization has brewed extreme form of exploitation which is unparalleled in the world. Almost all 4th class jobs have been thrown open to the contract system, where not only wages are low, but even that is not fully paid to the workers. Privatization must be banned and wherever the system is working, the Government must ensure that salaries and wages are transferred directly to their bank accounts; the safai karamcharis are the worst victims of contract system; the caste certificate of one state should be valid in other states;backlog vacancies should be filled by Special Recruitment Drive; allottees of land under the 20 point program have not been conferred bhumidhari rights even after 30 and 40 years of allotment. Delhi Cabinet has passed a resolution to give bhumidhari rights but the matter is stuck up in the Home Ministry. Talks are in progress and it is requested that it should be done without loss of time.
Sir, I along with office bearers from all over the country, Jagjiwan Prasad, Dharam Singh and Kidarnath (Uttar Pradesh), Brahm Prakash, , Karm Singh Karma , Ravindra Singh, N. D. Ram, R. C. Mathuriya, Dr. Anju Kajal, Ramnandan Ram, R. S. Hans, Dr. Dhananjay and K.P.Maurya (Delhi), Siddhartha Bhajane, Archana Bhoyar, Sanjay Kamble, Sanjay Adhangale, and Siddhartha Kamble (Maharashtra), S. P. Jarawata and Mahasingh Bhurania (Haryana), Dharshan Singh Chanded and Tarsem Singh (Punjab), Vishram Meena, Moolaram, M.L. Rasu and Mukesh Meena (Rajasthan), Harishchand Arya, Heera Lal and Rohit Kumar, (U.K.), Alekh Malik,, Mihir Sethi, D. K. Behera and Narayan Charan Das (Orissa), Param Hans Prasad and B. Bharati (M.P.), Ramubhai Vaghela, N.J. Parmar and Yograj Vaghela (Gujarat), S. Karuppaiah, P. N. Perumal, G. Sriniwasan and M. Mathiparayanav (Tamilnadu), K. Ramankutty (Kerala), K.Maheshwar Raj, J.B.Raju (Telangana), Dr. Shyam Prasad (A.P.), Anil Meshram and Harsh Meshram (Chhattisgarh), Kamal Krishna Mandal, Rameshwar Ram, Sapan Haldar and Vishwajit Shah (W. Bengal), Madhusudan Kumar,and Vinay Mundu (Jharkhand), R. K. Kalsotra ( J & K), Madan Ram, Kumar Dhirendra and Shivdhan Paswan (Bihar), J. Shriniwaslu, Purushottam Das and Channappa (Karnataka) and Sitaram Bansal (H.P.) etc. present this memorandum for your consideration.
With regards,
Yours sincerely,

(Dr. Udit Raj)

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