Need reservation in private sector too: A Narayanswamy

The proposal to increase the SC/ST quota by the state government has reached the Centre.

Published: 02nd April 2023 11:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2023 11:09 AM   |  A+A-

Social Justice and Empowerment A Narayanswamy. (File Photo)

Social Justice and Empowerment A Narayanswamy. (File Photo)

Express News Service

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment A Narayanswamy said there is a need for reservation in the private sector too. “As jobs have been dwindling in the government sector after the computerisation, the reservation should be implemented even in the private sector which is my personal opinion,” the minister said during an interaction with The New Sunday Express editors and reporters. Excerpts:

Now that the Assembly poll dates are announced, how will the BJP campaign change?
We will continue to tell people what our governments have done. The BJP’s speciality is that we have our party president JP Nadda’s organisational skills, Home Minister Amit Shah’s experience of facing six elections in Gujarat, including fighting elections even when there was anti-incumbency, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept of facing polls on a development agenda. We need to keep telling the beneficiaries about what we have done, and that is what our party leaders are doing.

Your views on changes in the reservation policy?
There has been a lot of discussion on the reservation, and there was a need for categorisation. The Justice Usha Mehra Commission too opined the same. Despite 75 years of Independence, there is untouchability. Every year, we are increasing the number of untouchables. We are identifying exploited communities even today. This means, the government schemes were not reaching those people. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai formed many boards and corporations and allocated funds. But that should not be just name-sake bodies. Without economic upliftment, no scheme will help these people. The budget has not been allotted for such initiatives for economic upliftment. The budget is more focused on the development of infrastructure and the creation of employment opportunities, which are also needed.

Why was the Justice AJ Sadashiva commission report not accepted?
The problem has to be solved. The Sadashiva report recommended 6% for SC-Left, 5% for SC-Right, 3% for touchable and 1% for nomads. In Karnataka, there are 26 lakh people in the touchables category and that was why it could not be implemented. The Sadashiva commission’s recommendation for reservation is less compared to the population of respective communities. That is why we cannot take the report as it is. We had to bypass it to rectify reservations recommended for the touchables. Also, the Sadashiva report was for 15 per cent reservation for SCs. But now, it has increased to 17 per cent. If we say we have rejected it completely, it will send out a wrong message. Studying all these reports, a cabinet sub-committee headed by Law Minister JC Madhu Swamy gave its report.

About 240 subjects are waiting to be included in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution. What is the probability of the quota hike for SC/STs getting in?
The 9th Schedule was brought in for land reforms to curtail the ‘zamindari’ system to distribute lands among the poor and to redistribute land among tillers. There was also a guideline that once the subject was included in the 9th Schedule, it should be out of the judicial purview and could not be questioned in the Supreme Court. But now, the Supreme Court has clarified in a judgment that a government order to include a subject in the 9th Schedule can also be questioned. For example, in Tamil Nadu’s case, the government order has been questioned. But the state has been implementing the quota categorisation as the Supreme Court neither admitted the case nor gave any judgment. Based on the population, there are some states that have reservations up to 80 per cent, and even in Gujarat, the quota has been hiked. The proposal to increase the SC/ST quota by the state government has reached the Centre.

As a minister of state for social justice you ought to deliver justice to all, including Muslims. What is your take on scrapping of the 4 per cent OBC quota for Muslims?
Since they were already in the backward classes reservation, there was no need for a separate reservation under 2B. I agree their status is more pathetic than ours (‘Untouchable Dalits’). But they have the scope of doing business to eke out a living. Congress which is still doing appeasement politics has failed to uplift the community’s status educationally and economically in its rule of 65 years in the country.

Now, they are entitled to reservations under both backward classes and economically weaker section categories. In fact, those who come under EWS are not entitled to reservations under any other category.

After the census can the quota figures be revised?
The process has to be done gradually. But no government has come forward to do it.

What is your take on the demand for reservation in jobs in the private sector?
Unless labour policies are changed, there will be no industrialisation. We changed the policies and boosted industrialisation. The reservation in the private sector should be implemented not just based on castes, but on the domicile to give jobs to local residents. Outsiders come and set up their industries here with all our help. As jobs have been dwindling in the government sector after computerisation, reservation should be implemented even in the private sector, which is my personal opinion.  

After all the chaos over reservation, has the quota system become irrelevant as you remarked about it recently?
I am telling you honestly that when those communities that were considered upper castes and ‘zamindars’ and who ran this country for 75 years being in the mainstream also seek reservation, then the concept of reservation will become irrelevant.

The state government has made new categories of 2C and 2D to give quotas for Vokkaligas and Lingayats...
Now, states have the powers following the Supreme Court order. Parliament has amended the Constitution to allow states to take decisions on including and excluding communities for reservation. There should have been schemes to bring more into the mainstream. If more communities are not in the mainstream and wish to join the backward list, it means the country is going backwards.

Why shouldn’t the reservation be implemented based on backwardness and not just based on castes?
The lifestyle and dependability of a class keep changing from one region to another. For instance, the Kadugollas., who are Yadavas in north India, are rulers. But in places like Chitradurga in Karnataka, their situation is pathetic compared to the Dalits.

What is the status of the ST tag for Kadugollas?
The anthropological report on the community gave the wrong findings. But I am honestly putting all my efforts to overcome the hurdles to get the community the ST tag.

How long should the reservation system continue in the country?
Dr BR Ambedkar said it should be for ten years. But the parties (Congress) felt that if it is removed after ten years, people would not vote for them, and politicians maintained the status quo. In rural India, social stigma still prevails. There is no situation as such to remove the quota.

How initiatives of the state government on quota for several communities will impact the Assembly polls?
It will definitely have an impact. Earlier, around 40 per cent of Madiga community people used to vote for BJP. Now, 80 per cent of them will.

In several polls in the past, BJP could not win a full mandate despite BS Yediyurappa being the chief ministerial candidate. What are the party’s chances this time?
After Independence, Congress sought votes as the party that brought freedom to the country. But 40 per cent of the people voted for feudalism instead of development. After 2014, many states have been won by BJP on the development agenda. There is a difference in development done by the governments, including by BS Yediyurappa, and the Modi government since 2014. Yediyurappa is accepted by all communities.

What is the difference between you being a state minister earlier and a Union minister now?
In Karnataka, I worked like Karna in Mahabharat. Now, I am working like Arjuna as I am finding out lapses by the administration in implementing schemes for the oppressed in some Northern and Northeastern states, and also Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. I have been guiding them to carve out schemes to uplift the downtrodden. In Kerala, the administration has implemented schemes for the empowerment of women in rural areas with sustainable models. It is in this context I have been working as Arjuna to guide the other states.

AICC president Mallikajurn Kharge hails from Karnataka. How will it impact the upcoming Assembly polls?
I personally have respect for him. But to date, I have never seen him as a leader who can influence Karnataka politics.


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