Call for Nationwide Socio-Economic Caste Census and Removal of the 50% Reservation Cap Emerges on VP Singh's Jayanti - Read Full Story

Bahujan Politics Takes Center Stage
Call for Nationwide Socio-Economic Caste Census and Removal of the 50% Reservation Cap Emerges on VP Singh's Jayanti - Read Full Story

New Delhi- On the 93rd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, a strong call for a nationwide socio-economic caste census and the removal of the 50% reservation cap was made.

These demands, highlighted at a national convention hosted by Truthseekers International and the Students' Federation of Dravidians, highlights the ongoing struggle for social justice and equitable resource distribution.

The event, held at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi, brought together many speakers and activists who emphasized the need for accurate data to inform inclusive policies and ensure proportional representation in government jobs and education.

The event featured several distinguished guests and speakers. Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, a renowned political theorist and author, served as the Chief Guest.

Prof. Ilaiah criticized mainstream political parties by noting that despite the Mandal Commission being in existence during Congress's tenure for nearly a decade, no action was taken. He emphasized that if not for VP Singh's 11-month government, the OBC community would still be suffering from inadequate representation.

Prof. Shepherd also highlighted that unlike the customary practice of acknowledging former Prime Ministers' birthdays, there was a noticeable absence of well-wishes from major politicians on VP Singh's birth anniversary.

Giridhari Yadav, an MP and senior leader of the JDU, was the Guest of Honour. P. Wilson, MP from DMK and Convenor of AIFSJ, delivered the keynote address.

The lineup of speakers included Sunil Sardar, the founder of Truthseekers International, Dr. Shephalika Shekhar, former JNUSU VP and professor at BNMV College, Karunanidhy G, the General Secretary of the AIOBC Federation.

Other notable speakers were Paltan Yadav, former Pramukh of Chandan, Dharmendra Kushwaha from OBC Mahasaba, and Umesh Yadav, a social and political activist. Kayalvizhi J, an NCC member of the Students' Federation of Dravidians, also addressed the gathering.

The convention was a haven for anti-caste workers and people from marginalized communities. Attended by multiple students and hundreds of social activists, the event drew attention to the work that has been done so far and the long journey that still awaits.

Apart from having prominent speakers, the event also had book stalls that showcased and sold literature on Bahujan politics and the works of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar. Being sold at a minimal rate, the literature would act as another source of knowledge for the audience.

Interestingly, an eerie silence enveloped the event, as if the audience had momentarily set aside every other identity except their caste. Every point made by the speakers about the hardships faced by the community and the need to uphold the legacy of the former PM was met with resounding applause from the hundreds in attendance.

The convention addressed several vital issues that aligned with the enduring legacy of V.P. Singh. One of the key topics was advocating for the conduction of a nationwide caste census, considered essential for understanding and addressing the socio-economic disparities faced by various communities.

A nationwide socio-economic caste census is crucial for developing scientific criteria for sub-categorization and ensuring equitable resource distribution. It provides valuable insights into the socio-economic conditions of different caste groups, guiding policymakers in creating inclusive policies. Accurate data from the census is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of affirmative action policies and making informed decisions regarding their implementation and modification.

Another significant agenda was the call for the removal of the 50% reservation cap to ensure proportional representation. This change was seen as crucial for achieving true equality and fairness in the distribution of opportunities.

Many speakers talked about the need for proportional representation. There is a reservation cap at 50%, but the ‘Economically Weaker Section’ quota already crosses the cap.

In discussing the recent Patna High Court judgment that revoked the increase in reservation, many argued that the court contradicted the Supreme Court's decision, which had approved the EWS quota, surpassing the 50% cap.

The convention also pushed for the implementation of the remaining recommendations of the Mandal Commission, ensuring that V.P. Singh's vision for social justice was fully realized.

Additionally, there was a strong focus on advocating for reservations in the private sector, recognizing the need for inclusive growth across all areas of employment.

Finally, the establishment of an Institute of National Eminence in honor of V.P. Singh was discussed, aiming to preserve and promote his contributions to the nation and continue his work towards social equality and justice.

Guest of Honour Giridhari Yadav, MP and senior leader of JDU, addressed the issue of education privatization, stating that it has resulted in rising fees, particularly in government institutions where primarily students from marginalized communities study. He emphasized that this trend is creating barriers to accessibility in education.

Yadav also highlighted the impact of discontinuing several scholarships, which has placed students in challenging situations.

V.P. Singh’s Role in Implementing the Mandal Commission

On August 7, 1990, Prime Minister V.P. Singh made a historic announcement, granting 27 percent reservation in jobs in Central government services and public sector units to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

This decision, based on the recommendations of the Mandal Commission led by former Bihar Chief Minister B.P. Mandal, was a significant step in addressing long-standing caste discrimination.

The move increased the total reservations for OBCs, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes to 49 percent, sparking widespread controversy and debate. V.P. Singh's decision was seen as a bold effort to make Indian democracy more inclusive, ensuring that the OBC community became integral to the nation-building process.

In his Independence Day speech in 1990, Singh passionately declared, "No section can be uplifted merely by money. They can develop only if they have a share in power, and we are prepared to provide this share." His words underscored his commitment to social justice and empowerment through representation.

Ultimately, V.P. Singh's determination ensured the implementation of the 27 percent quota for OBCs, a milestone that was once considered improbable.

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