NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary committee today appeared suggesting a re-look on the issue of percentage of reservation for Scheduled Castes.
It also expressed concern over lack of updated data on castes proposed for inclusion/exclusion in the Scheduled Castes list, saying necessary information is still being obtained from old literature of pre-independence era.
The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, chaired by BJP MP Ramesh Bais, said,"The Committee observes that on one hand new communities are being consistently added in the SC list, which results in giving benefits to more and more people under the reserved category while on the other, percentage of reservation remains the same."
"Considering the fact that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) deals with the issue relating to the reservation policy, the Committee urges the ministry to take up the matter with DoPT for appropriate action," it said.
The panel, at the same time, backed the provisions of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which seeks to include some new communities from Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
"The Committee approves the amendments in the bill in its entirety," it said.
Rooting for a more reliable data of such communities, it said,"The Committee are unhappy to note that the data on the estimated population of the communities proposed to be included in the SC list through this bill is not available with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
"...the ministry has merely relied on the views of the state governments that these communities are socially, educationally and economically backward.
The panel desired that the ministry should pursue with the Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), which conducted the social report economic caste survey, to make available the report.
"The Committee note with concern that the Registrar General of India (RGI)/Census Commissioner does not conduct field based anthropological studies for getting updated information on the socio-economic and ethnic profile of the concerned castes proposed for inclusion.
"The Committee also find that the necessary information of the concerned caste is being obtained from the old and contemporary published anthropological and ethnographic literatures of repute as well as census reports of pre-Independence period," it noted.
Wondering over it, the panel said,"The committee do not fathom the rationale of RGI in referring to old literature of pre-independence period for determination of the socio-economic status of castes while clearing proposals for their inclusion/exclusion".
It desired that the RGI should have the latest data on economic and social status of the castes proposed for inclusion/exclusion in the Scheduled Castes list.
The panel also observed that the reports of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes are not laid timely in Parliament and desired that the the government should not only explain the reasons for the "inordinate delay" in laying the reports but also ensure that the reports are laid timely.