Saturday, April 20, 2024

On equal entry to advantages for all Scheduled Caste communities | Defined


Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) chief Manda Krishna Madiga throughout a public rally at Parade Grounds in Hyderabad, on November 11, 2023.
| Photograph Credit score: NAGARA GOPAL

The story to date: The Union authorities has shaped a high-level committee of secretaries, chaired by the Cupboard Secretary, to judge and work out a technique for the equitable distribution of advantages, schemes and initiatives to essentially the most backward communities among the many over 1,200 Scheduled Castes (SCs) throughout the nation, which were crowded out by comparatively ahead and dominant ones.

Why this committee and why now?

This committee’s formation is the results of a gathering Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired in December, 2023, weeks after promising to look into the demand for sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes as raised by the Madiga neighborhood in Telangana within the run-up to the Meeting elections there final yr. The Madiga neighborhood constitutes at the very least 50% of the SC inhabitants in Telangana, the place SCs comprise round 15% of the entire inhabitants (2011 Census). For many years, the Madiga neighborhood has stated that regardless of their numbers, they’re crowded out of presidency advantages meant for SCs, together with reservation, by the Mala neighborhood — one other SC — which is dominant and comparatively ahead.

Just like the Madiga neighborhood, SC communities in a number of States have stated that they’ve been routinely crowded out of advantages meant for SCs by dominant and comparatively ahead communities of their class. Commissions shaped by State and Union governments have additionally supported the argument that a number of SC communities typically miss out on advantages. Because of this, a number of States like Punjab, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu have tried to herald reservation legal guidelines on the State stage in a bid to sub-categorise SCs and resolve on a separate quantum of reservation for these subcategories throughout the umbrella of SCs— all of that are held up in courts.

Consequently, this high-level panel of Secretaries has been shaped with a strict mandate to look into “different methods of caring for their grievances”. Whereas the committee’s formation comes on the heels of the PM’s promise to the Madiga neighborhood, sources have advised The Hindu that its “scope is bigger than only one neighborhood in a single State as it will likely be methods to handle related points confronted by similarly-placed SC communities throughout the nation”.

In the meantime, a seven-judge Structure Bench of the Supreme Court docket is anticipated to quickly begin listening to the matter of whether or not sub-categorisation of SCs and STs is in any respect permissible.

What is going to the panel do?

The Committee will encompass Secretaries from the Dwelling Ministry, the Legislation Ministry, the Tribal Affairs Ministry, the Social Justice Ministry and the Division of Personnel and Coaching along with the Cupboard Secretary. With the query of breaking apart the SC quota off the desk, the panel will look into methods through which advantages of different authorities schemes and initiatives could be centered in the direction of these SC communities. This contains methods to design particular initiatives for communities that want it and focusing present programmes and schemes in the direction of them to make sure a extra even distribution of advantages. Whereas it has not been given a particular deadline, the committee has been requested to current its findings on the earliest.

The panel should work out on what foundation SC communities are going to be shortlisted for particular consideration, discover out the extent to which particular initiatives should be designed for every of them, after which discover a option to ship them. Whereas sources have indicated that the panel has been instructed to not veer off into the query of breaking apart the SC quota, nothing prevents it from forming an opinion on this matter for the federal government’s consideration, if crucial.

Have there been makes an attempt up to now?

The demand of the Madigas was raised as early as 1994, which led to the Union authorities searching for authorized choices to do the identical in 2005. On the time, the erstwhile Lawyer Normal of India had opined that the sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes was doable and that the Structure might be amended to carry this about. However he had additionally confused that this might occur provided that there was “unimpeachable proof to point a necessity” for it — suggesting that there must be a mechanism to assemble empirical proof to show the need of sub-categorisation.

On the time, each the Nationwide Commissions for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and Scheduled Tribes (NCST) had opposed the transfer to amend the Structure, arguing that simply setting apart a quota throughout the quota wouldn’t be sufficient and that ensuring present schemes and advantages attain them on precedence foundation was extra pressing. Nevertheless, even the NCST and NCSC had in 2005 maintained that nothing within the Structure’s Articles 341 and 342 explicitly prevented Parliament from sub-categorising SCs and STs.

These Articles vest the powers of notifying SC and ST lists with the President of India and of making the lists with Parliament, with no particular instruction as as to if there could be sub-categorisation inside these lists respectively. The truth is, the Commissions had gone one step forward and argued that Article 16(4) of the Structure of India already supplied for States to create particular provisions for any backward courses it felt was under-represented.

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