Medicos hit back with black day and mass leave
THE UNCERTAINTY over whether the creamy layer of the OBCs will benefit from the new quota bill seems a reflection on divisions in the UPA. The southern allies of the UPA say they supported a staggered implementation of quota only after it was decided to include the creamy layer. The Left, meanwhile, is opposing the inclusion of the creamy layer.
Outside the House too, the bill has generated heat. The resident doctors at the AIIMS have decided to observe a black day on Wednesday and go on mass casual leave on Thursday. They said emergency services would not be affected.
The quota bill, as cleared by the cabinet, will in all likelihood be referred to a parliamentary standing committee, where the Left parties, notably the CPM, will oppose the inclusion of the creamy layer among the proposed beneficiaries.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said "the principle of natural justice demands the exclusion of the creamy layer as per the SC guidelines". He said the estimates of the OBC population in the country stood at 52 per cent, implying two claimants to each seat under the quota. "Is this not a good enough reason to keep out the affluent among the classes in question," he said.
Yechury said the Supreme Court judgment on job quotas held good for reservation in educational institutions too. But he rejected the application of the creamy-layer concept to SC/STs who, in his view, faced greater exploitation.
A day after the cabinet okayed the reservation bill, there is no official statement on the creamy-layer issue but there are many voices.
The DMK and the PMK said it was like a quid pro quo at the Monday meeting — they supported the cabinet decision to implement quota in a staggered manner after the cabinet rejected the Law Ministry's proposal to exclude the creamy layer.
Ministers T.R. Baalu and Dayanidhi Maran (both from the DMK) and Anbumani Ramadoss of the PMK had both opposed the exclusion of the creamy layer. A DMK leader said if the government was increasing seats in the general category, why should the creamy layer be denied any benefit. Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj had argued that unless creamy layer was exempted, the new quota proposal would not withstand the scrutiny by the Supreme Court. The apex court had introduced the concept while upholding the Mandal reservation 12 years ago.
According to DMK and PMK leaders, it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who supported their contention, which finally led to the cabinet deciding to include the creamy layer under the quota ambit.
For his part, Lok Janshakti Party leader and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the creamy layer would benefit in the quota law.
He also pressed for 25 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes, up from the current 15 per cent.
The PMK leadership, however, is not happy about staggering the reservation over three years.
The PMK founder, S. Ramadoss, said in a statement that the Centre should introduce the reservation bill in the current session of Parliament.