Panel Setup on Jat Quota Row

IAS Prelims 2023

Yielding to pressure from agitating Jats, the Centre announced setting up of a committee under a senior Union Minister to examine the quota demand from the community in government jobs.

Fresh incidents of violence left two more dead, taking the toll in the eight-day long stir to 12.

Committee headed by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu has been formed to look into the demand for reservation in Central government jobs for Jats.

The Jat agitation now may end soon as the Haryana government also decided to bring a bill for granting OBC status to Jats. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jat leaders, National security Advisor, Army Chief and Delhi Police Commissioner.

The Union government has also asked Haryana to ensure that there is no disruption in water supply to the national capital.

BACKGROUND:

The Jat quota agitation has crippled Haryana for the second time in less than a year. The latest protest, however, has been more violent. This quota issue goes back to the 1990s.

The Jats are primarily farmers. Traditionally, they are not considered backward. They are economically and politically well off. Jats are 29 per cent of Haryana’s total population.

Main Demand: Jats are demanding to be declared OBC (other backward class), which will help them secure the 27 per cent OBC reservation in government jobs.

Jats have rejected the Special Backward Class quota offered by the Khattar government on the basis of their economic status.

current issuesThe Supreme Court’s Stand:

Hearing a plea of the Jats, the Supreme Court had made it clear that caste alone cannot be the reason to approve reservation for a certain community. The top court had said that to determine backwardness of a community, social backwardness should be the prime concern.

The Supreme Court has capped caste based reservation upto 50 per cent and if the Haryana government succumbs to Jat pressure and add Jat quota to the present OBC reservation (27 per cent plus SC, ST quota of 22.5 per cent) it will be flouting Supreme Court’s rules.

Jat quota demand – History in brief:

Ever since the implementation of Mandal Commission report in 1991, Jats have been opposing mention in the OBC list of the Union government and other states.

In 1997, Jats in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh demanded them to be included in the central OBC list. It was reject by the National Commission for Backward Classes.

In 2012, a survey was conducted in six states on the directives of the commission to review the economical and social status of the Jats. States like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were also included in the survey. In Haryana, the survey conducted compared the Jats to higher castes.

During 2004 Haryana Assembly election campaign, Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda promised Jats a quota. Hooda won the election.

Ahead of Assembly election in 2014, Hooda included Jats and four other castes in Specially Backward Class (SBC) quota.

However, in July 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court rejected the Hooda government’s plan to give 10 per cent reservation to the Jats after the Supreme Court refused the state government’s quota recommendations.

Centre’s decision to include Jats from 9 states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar – in OBC list rejected by the Supreme Court in March, 2015.