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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.