Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal for issuing instruction to clear the backlog of vacancies under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

This decision paves the way for a special drive to recruit OBCs for over 28,000 reserved posts.

The backlog will be treated as a “separate and distinct” group not subject to the limit of 50 per cent reservation in a year, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan said after the Cabinet meeting.

On the OBC proposal, mooted by the Department of Personnel and Training and approved by the Cabinet, Mr. Chavan said instructions would be issued to pave the way for conducting Special Recruitment Drive for filling the backlog of 28,670 reserved vacancies of OBCs.

Exception to 1997 order

Mr. Chavan said a 1997 Supreme Court order had stated that the quota of reserved seats cannot exceed 50 per cent of the total seats being filled. However, Parliament, through the 81st amendment to the Constitution, had made an exception to this principle enabling the government to fill vacancies accumulated from previous years through special recruitment drives for SCs and STs. This is now being extended to OBCs, the Minister said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also gave its approval for continuation of the “Grant-in-Aid” scheme to voluntary organisations working for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes (STs). The revised guidelines of the scheme issued on April 1 this year would also continue.

Enhancing reach

The prime objective of the scheme is to enhance the reach of welfare schemes of the government and fill the gaps in services deficient tribal areas in sectors such as education, health, drinking water, agro-horticultural productivity, and social security through the efforts of voluntary organisations, and to provide an environment for socio-economic uplift and overall development of the STs.

Simple mechanism

The revised guidelines will accelerate effective filling of gaps in services such as education, health and drinking water supply in tribal areas, Mr. Chavan said.