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The Jat agitations in Haryana : The whole story

  • WHO ARE THE JATS AND WHY ARE THEY AGITATING?

    Jats are an agricultural caste group who have dominant presence in Haryana and otherwise spread across various states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The opportunities presented to them by the urban cities in India persuaded them to move out of their rural setup and move in to the urban areas. In complete contrast to the abundance of resources present to the middle class residing in the urban cities, the Jats lacked the necessary perquisites to have access to the services and hit the deck running. Understandably, the less fortunate Jats are left dependent on the government for jobs in the govt. sector. The jats are out on the streets protesting for a quota which would guarantee them a percentage of jobs in the government sector.


     

    WHAT IS THE CURRENT LEGAL SITUATION?

    The SC in a controversial report disallowed the Central Government to extend the reservation in government sector jobs to Jats because the Court did not find the Jat community backward. According to the KC Gupta commission, 17.82% of Class 1 and 2 government jobs are already secured by Jats with the number rising to as high as 40 to 50 percent in the lower grades. A few decades ago the Jat community refused to accept the Backward Category tag. But with the land share dwindling and credit much more difficult to procure, some think of these protests as just opportunist behavior.


     

    BUT WHY ALL OF A SUDDEN?

    Actually the situation goes way back to 1991 when Gurnam Singh Comission included the Jats in the Backward Category but the Bhajan Lal government withdrew the proposal. Again in 2004, they were promised reservation as part of Bhupinder Singh Hooda's election promises. But nothing came to fruition. In 2012, KC Gupta Comission paved way for a 10% reservation, only to be stepped aside by the SC.


     

    WHAT TO EXPECT NOW

    The situation is still grim with no signs of letting go from either the Centre or the Jats. The government's proposal for a 20% quota for Jats having income less than 6 lakhs under the Economically Backward Persons (EBP) category was turned down by the agitators. The matter is expected to be discussed further in the budget session of the Parliament in February-end. But the passing of a bill promising a quota is unlikely since the 50% reservation ceiling in Haryana is already complete, set by the SC. A mutual agreement is what the public should expect.


     

    OUR TAKE

    The agitations have become a routine for the past several years before election days. On one hand the government is trying all that they can do to secure the Jat votes in its favor, this kind of vote bank politics may hurt them in the long run. An in-depth analysis and discussion in the Parliament is the way to go. However, we feel that the situation at hand could have been managed more efficiently. The inexperience of the BJP govt. in Haryana aggravated the situation. Quota or no quota, this kind of a march is surely a backward march for the country.


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