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Government turns focus on Jat quota

Panel for backward classes okayed social, cultural study on whether Jats should be included in OBC list. Saubhadra Chatterji reports. Cong makes 360-degree turn on quota for Muslims | 'Cong is playing divisive politics for poll gains' | Jat count

delhi Updated: Jan 15, 2012 09:51 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times

After giving minorities 4.5% sub-quota, the government has kick-started the process to look into the claim of Jats in the OBC quota for central government jobs and higher education.

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has approved a “social and cultural study” to prepare its report on whether or not Jats across states should be included in the central OBC list.

“A proposal to include Jats in the central OBC list was earlier rejected. Last year, the NCBC got legal power to re-open cases that were earlier shot down. We will look into all issues that were rejected,” said NCBC member Shakeel-uz-Zaman Ansari.

Inclusion of Jats as OBC has also been a key issue for political parties. Last month, while joining the UPA, Jat leader and RLD chief Ajit Singh met home minister P Chidambaram to expedite the process of inclusion of Jats in the OBC list. Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati shot letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year to include Jats of UP in the central list.

In 1999, then AB Vajpayee government had included only Jats of Rajasthan (excluding two districts) in the central OBC list.

The Jat population in India is believed to be around 8.25 crore. In UP, the caste comprises less than 6% of population but their dense presence in the state’s western part affects more than 50 assembly seats.

States, including Rajasthan and UP, have already given Jats the OBC status in their state lists. Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are among the other states that consider Jats as OBC.

The social and cultural study will be done by a government agency. It will look into the claims made by various Jat groups to the NCBC and the government about the caste’s linkages with OBCs like Aahir, Kurmi, etc. and their economic and social status.

“It will also take into consideration the objections raised by some other organizations against including Jats in the central OBC list,” said a source.

First Published: Jan 14, 2012 23:14 IST