In an announcement that could have far-reaching impact on the coming Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday provided reservation of sorts in government jobs for candidates from the General and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the state's Tribal-Sub Plan (TSP) area.
According to the decision, which has received an approval of Governor Margaret Alva, non-Scheduled Tribe and non-Scheduled Caste candidates from the TSP area would receive priority in appointment to government posts in the region when compared to other candidates from the rest of the state.
As of now, 50 percent of the government jobs—45 percent and 5 percent—in the region are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, respectively. The new system will apply to the remaining 50 percent of the population from these areas. In the present set-up, when the reservation limit reached 50 percentage, OBC candidates in TSP areas could not avail of reservation in government jobs and the jobs would go to candidates from the rest of the state.
People from the region had been demanding that since the entire region was treated as special, they should also get the same benefits as tribals and Dalits.
“I am happy to announce that with the approval of Governor Margaret Alva, all non-tribal, non-Dalit candidates will also receive priority in recruitment to government posts in the region,” Mr. Gehlot said.
While the TSP area in Rajasthan comprises Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Sirohi and Chittorgarh districts, the new arrangement would mostly benefit people from 23 tehsils in the first five districts, which account for about 15-17 seats in the State Assembly. This is expected to play an important role to play in the coming elections as it would attract the General and OBC votes from the region.
Non-ST/SC candidates had been making this demand for the past eight years under the banner of the Samanata Manch and over the years. The demand has emerged as a major political issue in the state. The decision, announced by Mr. Gehlot during the Congress Sandesh Yatra here, is likely to benefit the Congress in the Assembly polls to be held later this year.