All you need to Know About Jat Reservation Agitation-Haryana Current Affairs

All you need to Know About Jat Reservation Agitation-Haryana Current Affairs

All you need to Know About Jat Reservation Agitation-Haryana Current Affairs

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  • The government has decided to bring a Bill to grant other backward class (OBC) status to Jats. The community is agitating for reservation quota.
  • The decision was taken at a meeting of the Home Minister, the National Security Adviser, the Army chief and the Delhi Police Commissioner with Jat leaders.
  • The Jat agitation in Haryana has taken the death toll to 11.

All you need to Know About Jat Reservation Agitation-Haryana Current Affairs

Explained:

  • Who are the Jats, and what are they demanding?
    • Jats are an agricultural caste group in Haryana, and seven other states in North India, notably Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
    • In Haryana, they are the predominant caste, and therefore politically influential.
    • The Jats currently out on the streets across Haryana are demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions under the OBC category.
  • When did the demand begin?
    • Discontent boiled over after the 1991 Gurnam Singh Commission report included Jats in the Backward Classes category along with seven other groups, and after the Bhajan Lal government withdrew the notification that had been issued for inclusion.
    • Two more Backward Classes Commissions set up in the state excluded the group – in 1995 and 2011.
    • Reservation for Jats was one of the poll promises made by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who came to power in 2004; he subsequently wrote several letters to the Union government seeking their inclusion of Jats.
    • After an agitation, in April 2011, the government set up the K C Gupta Commission to go into the question once again.
    • In 2012, the commission recommended the inclusion of Jats and four other castes, Jat Sikhs, Ror, Tyagi and Bishnoi, in the category Special Backward Classes (SBC).
    • The Hooda government accepted the report and 10% quota was granted, but this was later set aside by the Supreme Court.
  • What are the legal issues involved in granting reservation to Jats? What is the policy in neighbouring states?
    • On March 17, 2015, the Supreme Court quashed the UPA government’s decision to extend the OBC quota in central government jobs to Jats, refusing to accept that Jats were a backward community.
    • Consequently, the reservation introduced for Jats in Haryana and eight other states — Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — was set aside.
    • In April 2015, the NDA government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the March 17 verdict. A decision on it is pending.
  • But if the Jats are so politically influential, should they not already be well represented in higher education and government jobs?
    • According to the K C Gupta Commission, Jats had 17.82% representation in Class 1 and 2 government jobs.
    • In the lower grades, this representation is estimated at as high as 40 to 50%.
    • The representation of Jats in educational institutions was 10.35%. The literacy rate among Jat men is said to be 45%; among women, about 30%.
    • The Jats’ primary occupation remains farming. The average landholding is 2-3 acres. Only 10% of Jats are landless.
    • Over a decade ago, some sections of Jats were not ready to accept the status of “backward class” because at that time land was not fragmented, and most Jat landholdings were large. With changing times and dividing families, however, holdings began to shrink.
  • Where is this agitation now headed?
  • The Jats have trashed a government offer to include those with annual income of less than Rs 6 lakh under an Economically Backward Persons (EBP) category with a 20% quota, to be shared with four other castes: Tyagis, Rors, Bishnois and Jat Sikhs.
  • The government has now announced it will prepare a draft Bill for reservation, and try to bring it in the Assembly session beginning March 17.
  • However, such a Bill may not stand judicial scrutiny in view of the 50% ceiling on quota in government jobs imposed by the Supreme Court. This ceiling has been reached in Haryana, which has 27% reservation for OBCs, 20% SCs and 3% for the disabled. This is why the Punjab and Haryana High Court had struck down the Congress government’s 10% per cent quota for Jats, Jat Sikhs, Bishnois, Tyagis and Rors as Special Backward Classes.

CTSY: The Hindu, Indian Express

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