Syed Kaleem Geelani

RBA Category Needs Relook & Rethink

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When & How it came into existence?

After Independence, the first priority of the govt was to uplift the people who were poor, downtrodden, neglected and the tribes living primitive life in jungles and ravines. So, the govt of India appointed First Backward Classes Commission known as Khan Sahib Kalekar Commission on 29th Jan 1953 which submitted its report on 30th March 1955 listing 2399 casts as socially and educationally backward classes in India. After that, JK Govt appointed a Committee for the identification of backward class/casts of J&K. J&K Govt then setup another committee in 1969 under the chairmanship of Justice JN Wazir which submitted its report in 1970. On the basis of this report the reservation rules under various categories were set up by the state government which included RBA, Social Casts etc. The report of this commission was challenged in Supreme Court of India. In order to remove lacunas and defects in the reservation rules as per the verdict of Supreme Court of India, the state government constituted another committee under the chairmanship of Justice A S Anand in 1976 which submitted its report 1977 September. Justice Anand, in his findings reiterated the contents of article of Indian Constitution which reads – “The state shall not deny to any person the equality before law.” At that time, Justice Anand said that I am not against reservations but I am against its continuous benefit for the same person.

Drawbacks of Reservation Policy?

Availing the continuous benefit of reservations has destroyed and diminished the bright career of many talented youths who inspite of having a good merit fall prey to the reservation policy. It is very sad that the targeted people for whom the RBA category was tailored by the state government are quite at the receiving end whereas the privileged & creamy layer of the society are being benefitted enormously by it whether they presently live or have ever lived in areas designated as Backward. We see huge number of people especially the people belonging to general and poor classes are unemployed. Each and every time we blame govt for unemployment without looking towards our nears & dears who are taking wrong advantages of entitlements provided to them. 50% of blame for the unemployment in JK state goes to these reservations policies which benefit only a few leaving others pushed to the wall.

A student belonging to general category is suffering from the very beginning and has to suffer for being in a general category throughout his whole life. Such student grows up listening to "Che Chei Ne Category,, Che Chukh forward.'' One feels hopeless for being born in a forward but poor family. A student belonging to general category after working hard and burning his midnight oil to get selected for any post or course is dropped at some point but a student belonging to reservation category after doing a little hard work is selected for having much less points than that of dropped one. Unfortunately this privilege is not a one time coupon but all time one. The reserved people continue to get set benefits throughout their lifetime. There are hundreds of families who actually hail from RBA villages of JK or have purchased few kanals of land there for RBA category certificate and settled in the cities and towns but got into top government jobs under reserved categories. The sons and daughters of these well settled people in government sectors are living in areas of cities also get entitlements under RBA or other reserved categories. The sons and daughters of such families having better schooling get the employment in the public sector easily under RBA and are posted in the cities and towns whereas the deserving youth are deprived both of their services and employment. The RBA reservation lollypop continues to benefit the boys and girls who got into medical, engineering colleges, education and other departments as they get out of turn promotions. This injustice can be seen in many government departments like Education, Veterinary, Agriculture etc. It is an irony that the daughters hailing from villages having studied in the schools falling in RBA cease the right the moment they are married outside whereas a girl from big cities having studied in public schools is entitled for the benefits of RBA.

Strategy & Policy Needed from Govt

Keeping the politics and fear of losing vote bank aside, The govt needs to rethink and revisit their policies on reservations for the sake of humanity. They should remove the lacunas and shortcomings in the policy. They should introduce a bill which can ensure only one time benefit under reservations. They should also design the policy in such a way that only a limited numbers of a family get benefitted under this scheme. Furthermore, Govt needs to recheck the areas coming under RBA category as maximum number of such villages have developed a lot. The areas that were backward 20 years before, now possess modern facilities like roads, hospitals, schools and colleges, connectivity but are still enlisted under RBA category. Lets hope that our Govt will bring a revolution for whole state by taking a review on the policy of reservations and come up with better policies and changes according to changing times.

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