Hint of new quota slot to mollify Jats

A new category to get around the Supreme Court's 50 per cent cap on reservations appears to be among the proposals being considered to parcel out quotas for Haryana's Jats, who are not classified as OBCs.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 23.02.16
  •  
M Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 22: A new category to get around the Supreme Court's 50 per cent cap on reservations appears to be among the proposals being considered to parcel out quotas for Haryana's Jats, who are not classified as OBCs.

Sources hinted at such a line of thinking on a day they admitted a question mark loomed over the "Happening Haryana Global Investors' Summit" that BJP chief minister M.L. Khattar would be hosting for the first time in Gurgaon on March 7 and 8.

Industry body Assocham pegged the financial losses Haryana has suffered in the Jat agitation at Rs 20,000 crore, although it didn't explain how it had arrived at the figure.

The sources said the five-member panel set up to examine the Jat demand for an education and job quota would submit its report and recommendations "as soon as possible". They said among the proposals being considered by the panel, headed by central minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, was creating a slot called the "special backward classes" or an "agrarian classes" category.

The "agrarian classes" like the Jats are called " kamdars" in Haryana. The other section of skilled and semi-skilled workers, drawn from the castes of metal smiths, tailors, potters and artisans, are known as "karigars" who are entitled to reservation under the backward classes 'B' category. The Jats are sore because unlike the karigars, they were out of the ambit of the Mandal Commission's recommendations.

After an agitation for Jat reservation in April 2011, the then B.S. Hooda government had set up a commission to go into the issue. In 2012, the commission recommended the inclusion of Jats and four other castes - the Jat Sikhs, Ror, Tyagi and Bishnoi - in the special backward classes slot. Hooda accepted the report and a 10 per cent quota was granted. The Supreme Court later set it aside.

In March 2014, the court quashed the UPA's decision to extend the OBC quota in central government jobs to the Jats, refusing to accept the Jats as a backward community. In April 2015, the Modi government filed a review plea. A decision is awaited.

Asked how the Khattar government could pass the court's scrutiny if it were to give reservations to the Jats under Hooda's SBC category, a BJP source said since Haryana had no tribal population, the three per cent quota, meant for STs, remained vacant. "Instead of the 10 per cent Hooda granted, we may have to accommodate the Jats and the four remaining agrarian castes in this quota," the source said.