Skip to main content

Gujarat's reservation policy: State govt "refuses" RTI information on meetings, minutes at CM level

Kirit Rathod
By Our Representative
In a step, which is likely to raise eye-brows of India’s top right to information (RTI) activists, the Gujarat government has refused to part with any information regarding official review of the state’s reservation policy towards Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) between 2001 and 2015.
In their RTI replies, officials of the Gujarat government have said that state departments do not have “any record” on review of the reservation policy, nor have any committees been set up at the chief ministerial or ministerial level regarding this.
Senior Dalit rights activist Kirit Rathod, in an RTI plea, had sought “agenda and minutes of the meetings, which may have taken place for reviewing the quota policy under the chairmanship of the chief minister at district, departmental, ministerial, or chief ministerial level."
Addressed to the general administration department (GAD) of the Gujarat government, responsible for personnel issues, Rathod’s application was transferred to two separate departments for a reply – social justice and empowerment and tribal development.
Giving details of the reply he received from the two departments, Rathod, who is associated with top Gujarat Dalit rights NGO, Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, says, the public information officer (PIO) of the tribal development department, Narendra Vaghela, in a “shocking” reply told him that since reservation is a “policy issue, it does not deal with it.”
As for the social justice and empowerment department, Rathod received two separate replies. One of them, by PIO JV Desai, was on Gujarat OBCs, which said that the department “does not have any records of the review of the reservation policy under the chairmanship of the chief minister.”
It further said, “The department has not constituted any committee for the review of the reservation policy at the district, departmental, ministerial or chief ministerial level.”
In a separate reply on Gujarat Dalits, PIO Jagdish Khadiya said, “Since the issues involved regarding reservation policy Dalits is not on agenda, it is not possible to provide any information.”
Rathod wonders whether the replies suggest the Gujarat government has not been serious in reviewing the implementation of the reservation policy at the highest level. “It exposes government claims that it is remains committed to reservation”, he says in a communiqué.
The Navsarjan Trust activist had demanded information about the reviews that may have taken place under the reservation policy against the backdrop of demand for quota within the OBC framework by upper caste Patel agitators.
The Patel agitation, which began in mid-2015, spread to all parts of Gujarat, is said to be the main reason why the ruling BJP lost district and taluka panchayat elections, held in November-end and early December, at the hand of the opposition Congress.
Rathod asks, “Does one conclude that neither under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi, who calls himself OBC, nor under Anandiben Patel, the present chief minister, no committees have been made or reviews taken place regarding the reservation policy either at their level or at the ministerial level?”
Rathod says, the reply is particularly surprising, as the state government had reportedly set up a committee under the chairmanship of senior minister Nitin Patel to look into the quota demand of the Patel agitators.
“It is difficult to understand why state officials are refusing to part any details of its meetings”, he says.

Comments

rajesh ji said…
RTI द्वारा PMO से माँगी गयी जानकारी रेलवे द्वारा धारा 7(1) के अंतर्गत आदेशित लेटर DLW वाराणसी में लंबित
Venkatesh Nayak said…
This is so typical. Deny that anything is happening until they reach a decision. It might be worthwhile to write to the NHRC on this issue.

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".