Study to ascertain community’s socio-economic status in Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh

The Centre plans to undertake a fresh survey to identify Jats in six States, taking into account variants in their surnames, for taking a call on including the community in the list of other backward classes (OBC) and bringing them within the ambit of reservation for Central jobs.

While the Centre is under pressure to announce Central reservation for the Jats ahead of the 2014 general elections, there has been opposition — from the National Commission for Backward Classes — in the absence of any official survey on the community’s backward status.

The panel deems that Jats are members of a relatively well-off community and do not deserve inclusion in the job quota.

As a prelude to the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), the fresh headcount is aimed at identifying the community’s numbers in each village and municipality in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Simultaneously, the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) will, on the NCBC’s directions, conduct a study on the socio-economic status of Jats in these States.

“During consultations over the issue of reservation for the community, it was pointed out that, owing to the different spellings of common Jat surnames and [the use] of ‘gotras’, […] there is ambiguity on the numbers. It has now been decided that a pre-SECC survey will be carried out in six Jat-dominated States. The surveyors will visit each house to verify the caste of the people irrespective of how they spell their names and their gotras,” said a senior official in the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.

The use of ‘gotra’ as surnames was flagged during a recent meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. The GoM’s recommendations will be put before the Cabinet, which will then allow the survey to be launched.

“This new survey will address all these issues that have led to confusion in identifying the community members. Even those households that were visited by the ICSSR enumerators will be called on again and the data of the two surveys will be compared and collated to arrive at the correct socio-economic condition of the community as well as for arriving at the correct numbers,” the official said.

Referring to the issue of reservation for the community, Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha president Raja Ram Meel said in Jaipur: “I wholeheartedly support the Centre’s move to introduce reservation for Jats. We are happy that the decision would benefit the Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur districts in Rajasthan, who are deprived of the benefit as of now. Jats in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, who deserve the quota in jobs and education, will get immense benefits.”

The Jat Mahasabha has been long been exerting political pressure on the Centre for a favourable decision, said Mr. Meel. “We do hope that a formal decision will be taken before the model code of conduct comes into force for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections”. The Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha forms part of All-India Jat Mahasabha.

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