BHUBANESWAR: As the State Government remained non-committal to his demand for giving 27 per cent reservation to other backward classes (OBCs) and socially and economically backward classes (SEBCs), Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan once again requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give social justice to a sizeable section of the population.
Writing to the Chief Minister on the issue for the second time, the Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel said the State Cabinet resolution for simultaneous enumeration of SEBC and other backward castes along with the 2021 general census should not be reason for giving their due.
“The move comes as a dilatory and dichotomous step trying to mask the extant policies of the State Government denying State-wide reservation for OBC and SEBC categories,” the letter stated.
While most of the States have implemented 27 pc reservation in Government services and educational institutions, Pradhan said some States like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bihar have raised the quota to a much higher percentage in accordance with the higher percentage of special categories in their population.
The constitutional validity of exceeding the quota above 50 per cent has been upheld by the court in case of Maharashtra and other States.
Odisha is the only exception where OBCs/SEBCs communities have not been given their quota. The apathy of the State Government to a substantial section of the population is evident from the fact that the State Commission for Backward Classes remained ineffective for a long time.
“I request you once again for favourable consideration to provide higher reservation for OBCs in the field of public services and educational institutions and for SEBCs in educational institutions,” Pradhan said.
The Union Minister further requested for setting up a Commission for Backward Classes to undertake a scientific and quantifiable study of the SEBCs in Odisha and explore options for a higher percentage reservation.