The government has decided to conduct a drive to fill vacant posts for Other Backward Classes in central government jobs.
A Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, has asked all central ministries to immediately respond to the drive.
The drive is aimed at sending the signal that the UPA government is concerned about the welfare of the OBCs, a government official said. The GoM has given a time frame of about a year to fill the empty chairs, just in time before the general elections in the summer of 2009.
The drive would be a boost to the OBCs who have less than six per cent representation in central government jobs. Scheduled Caste representation is about 18 per cent in central jobs.
There were about 1.6 crore OBCs in the central government in 2005, the Department of Personnel and Training had recently told the parliamentary standing committee.
The government is required to fill in 27 per cent seats reserved for OBCs in the central government. However, they get priority posting only in the vacancies created after 1991, when 27 per cent reservation for OBCs was notified.
The GoM also found out that some ministries were not keen to fill the posts meant for OBCs. A demand to fill the vacant OBC posts was also made by the Parliament Standing Committee related to the department of personnel. Some MPs wrote to the prime minister seeking his intervention to get the vacancies filled.