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Call for leak-proof legislation for reservation for SCs/STs, BCs in employment

Special Correspondent
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Establishment of high quality residential schools for achieving educational parity suggested

P.S. Krishnan, former bureaucrat, delivering the Gijubhai Badekha Memorial Lecture organised by the Asian College of Journalism and the NCERT, in Chennai on Thursday. To his right is Vasanthi Devi, former Vice-Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. — Photo: M. Vedhan
P.S. Krishnan, former bureaucrat, delivering the Gijubhai Badekha Memorial Lecture organised by the Asian College of Journalism and the NCERT, in Chennai on Thursday. To his right is Vasanthi Devi, former Vice-Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. — Photo: M. Vedhan

Watertight legislation for reservation in State jobs for SCs, STs and BCs, a comprehensive land distribution and minor irrigation programme and educational parity initiatives at all levels are key instruments for implementing social justice goals envisaged in the Constitution, former bureaucrat P.S. Krishnan said here on Thursday.

Delivering the Gijubhai Badekha Memorial Lecture under the joint auspices of the Asian College of Journalism and the NCERT, Mr. Krishnan said while irrigation-linked land distribution schemes were crucial for the economic liberation of SCs, STs, BCs and other landless peasants, evolving “leakage-proof” legislation for job reservation was necessary to remove loopholes in the present system and for providing due share to SCs, STs and BCs in governance and administration.

Mr. Krishnan, a former Government of India Secretary and a champion of the rights of the marginalised social strata, advocated the establishment of high quality residential schools for SC,ST and BC children as a starting point for achieving educational parity. On the higher education front, he sought the implementation of the recommendations (in 2008) of the high-level Ministerial committee on Dalit Affairs and the introduction in Parliament of “The Private Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admissions) Bill to fulfil the purpose foreseen in the 93 {+r} {+d} Constitution Amendment Act.

While advocating zero-tolerance of untouchability and forms of discrimination (such as social boycott), Mr. Krishnan wanted more teeth to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 through establishment of special courts and enhancement of punishment.

Pointing out that the pre-Independence slogan of “land to the tiller” remained substantively unrealised in rural India, Mr. Krishnan argued that in the case of SCs, landless state contributed to and aggravated agricultural servitude and “untouchability.”

According to the former bureaucrat, the rampant diversion of the Special Component Plan for SCs constituted a “serious social corruption.” The cavalier approach to the SCPs (and Tribal Sub-Plans), as borne out in the controversy over the Commonwealth Games, had reduced what was intended to bridge the gap between the marginalised and the advanced classes to a “meaningless, pointless arithmetical-statistical exercise.”

Making the case that the issues of the SCs, STs and BCs were not marginal issues but entwined with the core of India's aspirations to become a regional and global power, Mr. Krishnan said the operational cost of land distribution, educational parity and uplift programmes were well within the financial capability of the government.

Citing the Global Financial Integrity research group that pointed out that India had lost in illicit financial outflows at least Rs. 72,000 crore every year between 2002 and 2006 alone, Mr. Krishnan said “… even without taking this into account, the present and likely future annual plan size is enough to accommodate the needs of SCs and STs … .”

Terming the mainstreaming of the oppressed classes a national task, Mr. Krishnan said teachers had an important role to play in changing attitudes and mindsets through human rights education that promoted the egalitarian ideal in society — especially among children — and eliminated “the total mismatch between a big nation and small caste-shrivelled minds.”

V. Vasanthi Devi, former Vice Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, and Shakuntala Nagpal from the NCERT also spoke.


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