We are committed to implementing quota : Chidambaram

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the government would come out with another special drive to fill up backlog in government job vacancies for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. During the UPA-I regime as many as 54,000 such backlog vacancies for the weaker sections filled up.

The Minister, who was replying to a discussion on the “increasing atrocities against SC/ST in the country” in the Lok Sabha, said during 1986-87 when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he, as a then Minister for Personnel, had launched a special drive and filled-up 55,000 backlog vacancies for SC/ST in various government departments. “We did the first such special drive” and it was a record that in seven months so many posts were filled-up. The government was totally committed to implementation of reservation to SC/STs and OBCs, he added.

On the question of monitoring whether the government departments properly spent money allocated under various heads for the welfare of SC/ST, he said the Planning Commission had appointed a committee headed by its member Narendra Jadha to study the issue and the government would take further steps based on the committee's report.

Expressing his anguish that the number of cases registered relating to atrocities against SC/ST persons had been increasing – it was 26,665 cases in 2006, 29,825 in 2007 and 33,365 in 2008 – over the years and only 30 per cent of those cases end up in conviction, he said the district judges should hold monthly meetings with the district magistrates and the police superintendents to review the progress of casesrelating to atrocities against the SCs/STs.

Tough law

Mr. Chidambaram assured that the government would make law more stringent to prevent atrocities against SC/ST. The principal responsibility was with the State governments to implement these laws. He wanted the State governments to post officials where people (SC/ST) were vulnerable. “We will make the law more stringent and if needed, bring amendments in the Act,” to prevent grave atrocities like murder, rape, kidnapping and abduction and arson against such weaker classes, he said.

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