Decks have been cleared for a "social and cultural study" to look into the demand of Jats for their inclusion in the list of Other Backward Castes (OBCs) quota for central government jobs and higher education.
A few weeks ago, the home ministry reportedly allotted Rs 6 crore to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) for conducting the study. The commission had asked for money to conduct the survey almost a year ago.
Sources indicated that the study will be on social and cultural history and present conditions of the Jats, focusing on Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The study itself, however, does not guarantee the inclusion of Jats in the central OBC list-a long standing demand of the caste group that has also seen strong opposition from other castes. After the study report comes in, the NCBC will review it and give its suggestion to the central government which will take a final call on the issue.
"The study will be conducted by various government-aided institutions like the V Giri National Labour Institute. Once the NCBC gets their reports, we will consider the issue of inclusion of Jats as OBCs," said NCBC member Shakeel-uz-Zaman Ansari.
Incidentally, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already given Jats the OBC status in their own lists.
The study is expected to be completed in 6 months.