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Gujarat to announce a package for upper castes

It is aimed at providing financial assistance for higher education

September 23, 2015 12:42 am | Updated November 17, 2021 02:12 am IST - AHMEDABAD:

In a bid to placate the upper castes, which are not covered under any affirmative action policy providing reservation in the education and the government jobs, the Gujarat government is set to announce a comprehensive financial package aimed at providing financial assistance for higher education to the people of upper cases like Patels, who are on a aggressive agitation demanding reservation benefits.

“A comprehensive package is being prepared to help those deserving people from the upper castes. The main thrust is on higher education because it has become expensive,” a top official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) told The Hindu .

According to him, the government would announce details of the package in a few days.

“We are targeting the higher education, which seems to be the root cause of the present agitation. Financial assistance to pursue higher education for the people, who are not entitled to any reservation benefits,” said the official.

The government has called a meeting with social leaders, academicians and also those associated with education sector on September 24 to discuss the issues related to costs and the government's role in providing assistance to the deserving candidates.

“We feel that there is a need to address the issue of rising costs in higher education. We have called a meeting of all stake holders to discuss and deliberate on the aspects related to the issue,” said senior Minister and the spokesperson of the Gujarat government Nitin Patel.

Ever since the Patel community, considered affluent and politically powerful caste having control over agriculture, small and medium enterprises, diamond and real estate sectors, launched highly aggressive agitation with mass support from across the State, the government has been rattled and has been struggling to resolve the crisis.

“There is a feeling in the leadership that the issue of rising costs in higher education is genuine and the government needs to step in to support the people who are not entitled to any quota benefits like ST, SCs and OBCs,” a BJP law maker said, adding, “financial assistance based on economic criteria should be worked out for upper castes.”

The Patel agitation launched by a 22-year-old Hardik Patel had turned violent, as 10 people were killed while the state administration had to call in the para military forces and army to help restore normalcy in the state after the rally by organised by the Patels on August 25 in Ahmedabad.

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