PATNA: Amid rumblings of dissent rising within Bihar’s ruling JD(U) over insufficient implementation of the reservation policy for Dalits in government jobs, the Nitish Kumar cabinet on Wednesday decided to introduce reservations in all services currently provided in the state by way of outsourcing.
“The reservation policy will be followed in the selection of staff for all services outsourced by the government to third parties,” said cabinet secretary Brajesh Mehrotra after a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by CM Nitish Kumar ended.
The decision is said to have been prompted by recent unexpected outbursts by two senior JD(U) leaders – former Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary and former minister Shyam Rajak – about a “lack of willpower in the government” to provide reservations in jobs to Dalit candidates.
Sources said both JD (U) and its ruling ally BJP were alarmed by the combative stance perceptible in the statements of the two well-known Mahadalit leaders. Matters turned worse as RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav supported the two leaders on the Dalit reservation issue and described Nitish Kumar as “totally anti-reservation”. The cabinet decision apparently aimed at assuaging their frayed nerves. Both Chaudhary and Rajak, who is currently JD(U)’s national general secretary, welcomed the cabinet decision and generously thanked the government.
The Opposition RJD leaders, however, termed the move “an eyewash” said the government must show its resolve by ensuring the reservation policy wherever it is applicable. “This change in the government’s employment policy will benefit lakhs of people from the OBC and dalit communities. It may prove the first step towards reservation in the private sector,” said Shyam Rajak.
Thousands of people have been employed by the state government in services such as Information Technology and skill development centres that have been outsources to private companies. Thousands of jobs such as drivers and maintenance staff have also been outsourced to private companies.
Private companies operating services outsourced by the state government will henceforth have to follow the state government’s reservation policy while recruiting staff. These companies will have to mandatorily provide reservation to SCs (16 per cent), STs (1 per cent), EBCs (18 per cent) and OBCs (12 per cent) as per the state government’s current policy.