Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat has demanded that legislation be passed to provide for reservation to Dalits in private sector jobs as well as privately-run educational institutions.

Speaking at the inauguration of a seminar organised by the CPI(M) Dalit Rights Sub-Committee here on Wednesday, Mr. Karat said that all private industries that enjoy subsidy benefits on land and other resources and public-private-partnership ventures should mandatorily provide job reservation to Dalits.

Mr. Karat pointed out that many public sector undertakings, once taken over by private companies, have abandoned reservation policy in the process of transition. “Continuing reservation policy should be made conditional,” he said.

Mr. Karat said that increasing privatisation of education, particularly higher education, had shrunk educational opportunities for Dalits, which makes reservation a dire need. Reservation in allotment of seats in higher educational institutions should be mandatory, he said.

“All democratic forces should rally behind the demand for legislation that makes educational and job reservation in private sector mandatory,” he said.

He pointed out that the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre had only asked trade bodies, including FICCI and CII, to provide reservation voluntarily, which had, in turn, been rejected outright. They were only willing to help in skill development, he said.

Funds

Mr. Karat said that there was also a need to bring in legislation that ensures that Special Component Plan (SLP) funds kept aside for Dalit welfare schemes are neither diverted nor get lapsed.

CPI(M) State secretary G.V. Srirama Reddy said that the government had entirely retreated from creation of jobs, with no jobs created for about 15 years. “Now, lakhs of existing jobs remain vacant,” he added.