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Backlog is mounting in Govt jobs

Even as there is a demand for reservation of jobs in the private sector, there is considerable backlog in Govt services, writes Preeti Singh Saksena .

india Updated: May 01, 2006 22:59 IST
Preeti Singh Saksena
Preeti Singh Saksena

Any positive discrimination based on equal opportunity needs a combination of availability, accessibility and effective execution to make a real difference.

Low enrolment ratios and high dropout rates document the government's failure to provide basic education, which leads to unequal access to higher education. This failure is further reflected in the implementation of affirmative action in employment.

Even as there is a demand for reservation of jobs in the private sector, there is considerable backlog in filling reserved vacancies in central and state government services and public sector enterprises (PSEs). In 2005, the combined representation of SC/ST/OBCs in 211 PSEs was 43.91 per cent, as against mandatory quota of 49.5 per cent. Even this number is misleading because government departments try to jack up the overall number by overfilling the quotas in the bottom Class-D services.

According to the Working Group on the Empowering of Scheduled Castes, over 1,13,450 job opportunities were lost by SCs in the central government during 1992-97 alone. Here the Planning Commission noted a decline of 10.07 per cent job opportunities.

Addressing the mounting backlog of unfilled vacancies, the 81st Amendment of 2000 allowed the backlog to be treated as separate from the 50 per cent ceiling on reservations, to be filled in any successive year. But such guidelines and guarantees have failed to pre vent the failure of implementation.

Besides this, misuse of the reservation policy is rampant and fake certificates are issued and used with impunity. The lack of a statutory body to monitor follow-up programmes, increase accountability and prevent the circumvention of rules encourages patchy implementation and misuse. If the government itself is remiss in fulfilling its constitutional obligations, then it can't expect the private sector to enforce them faithfully.

Instead of restricting the debate on education and employment to the issue of affirmative action alone, action at the grassroots level to address traditional disadvantages is required.

A 2003 study of the impact of reservations in panchayati raj institutions in West Bengal and Rajasthan concluded that these have been instrumental in bringing the concerns of hitherto marginalised groups to the fore. A marginal difference in access to public goods for the scheduled castes was also reported.

Yawning Gap ¦ In 2002, reserved posts for SC/ST saw a shortfall of 7.44 per cent in Group A of Central Govt. Services and of 4.24 per cent in Group B. ¦ In May 2005 there was a backlog of 26,302 in the direct recruitment quota of government services and 30,534 in the promotion quota.

First Published: May 01, 2006 22:59 IST