After reservation in outsourced jobs, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar bats for quota in private sector
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After reservation in outsourced jobs, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar bats for quota in private sector

The chief minister said that last week’s decision to introduce reservation in outsourced services was in conformity with Bihar Reservation Act.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2017 20:42 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar Reservation Act,Private sector,Outsourced jobs
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference at his residence in Patna on Monday. (PTI)

Chief minister Nitish Kumar defended on Monday his government’s decision to introduce reservation in outsourced services and said those criticising it understood little of the issue as he batted for quota in private sector while insisting that there is a need for a national debate.

“I personally feel that reservation should cover the private sector too. But the matter has to be decided by Parliament. Till then, it remains a subject for debate,” Kumar said, responding to a related question on the legality of Bihar cabinet decision mandating enforcement of quota provisions in jobs sourced through outsourcing agencies.

In the absence of technical manpower on its rolls, the state government engages technical staff, mostly dealing in information technology (IT)-based operations, through outsourced agencies. Thousands of IT professionals have been engaged by the state government and the district administrations to run IT operations including Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation or Beltron and skill development centres.

Kumar’s assertion came after opposition from certain quarters, including from BJP Rajya Sabha member CP Thakur and Sachchidanand Rai, BJP MLC. He was interacting with the media after his weekly Jan Samvad programme at his official residence.

The chief minister said that last week’s decision was in conformity with Bihar Reservation Act. “Who is saying what becomes immaterial, when things are spoken without basic knowledge of facts,” he said brushing aside dissent.

“The moment you utilise government resource, you are liable to follow the applicable rules, be it in the case of data entry operators, technical support staff or otherwise,” he explained.

The question has cropped up after some questioned the validity on grounds that quota was not applicable for IT sector. But the CM countered it by asking whether an Act had limited application.

As for the fear for non-availability of adequate pool of human resource, Kumar said, “we have abundant manpower for every sector to find candidates from SC/ST, OBC, EBC, women and even those entitled for horizontal quota from the category reserved for the grandchildren of freedom fighters.”

He also underlined that it wasn’t the first time such a decision had been taken.

“We have done it in the past, when we recruited ex-armymen on contract basis for special auxiliary police (SAP) in 2006 to overcome shortage of police personnel. We have made it observation across the board, instead of monitoring such appointments on departmental basis.”

The government cannot give concession to anyone for compromising the rights of those entitled for the quota benefit. Moreover, the government has to come face to face with demands for absorption. “If processes are not followed at initial stage, we will be handicapped in even considering such demands,” he said.

Reservation remains a sensitive issue in Bihar and had rocked the BJP boat in 2015 assembly elections when RJD chief Lalu Prasad went whole hog to make capital out of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement for review of quota policy.

Incidentally, Nitish Kumar had first raised the issue of quota in private sector in 2016. Before him, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan have vouched support, with Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha being the latest to join the list of votaries.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 19:37 IST