Press Release / 14 August 2021
New Delhi: In a resolution passed at its National Executive Council Meeting, the Popular Front of India demanded caste census and adequate reservation for ensuring proportionate share for the backward sections.
The NEC observed that, despite the existence of an extensive system of affirmative action and other support mechanisms, the representation level of the backward classes is falling. Two recent revelations by the Parliament underlined this fact. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently informed Rajya Sabha that students belonging to backward classes constituted the majority of the dropouts at IITs, India’s reputed technical education institutes.
The NEC of Popular Front also pointed out that while the constitutional objective of adequate representation remains far from achieved, the very system of reservation is facing unprecedented challenges. Shockingly, the education minister also revealed to the Parliament that thousands of posts meant for OBCs remain vacant. This is proof of how concepts like Creamy Layer became a tool to deny reservation to a large percentage of candidates from backward sections.
Meanwhile, the ruling party and many opposition parties are colluding to undermine the very idea of reservation. The introduction of economic criteria to the reservation as part of this upper caste design. This was done in the blatant hijacking of constitutional criteria of affirmative actions, which are socio-educational backwardness and non-representation. Reservation to Economically Weaker Sections of Forward castes (EWS Reservation) was ensured by stealing away the opportunities of SC, ST and OBC. We are also witnessing that more and more forward communities that are economically better off and over-represented in employment and education are coming forward demanding reservation. At the same time, there is still no reservation for the Muslim community, which has been established as one of the most backward sections in the country as per all indicators. Though Maharashtra Government initially offered reservations to Muslims and Marathas together, after coming to power the state government confined to reservation only for Marathas despite the demand being rejected by the Supreme Court.
The Government reluctance to caste census is another big challenge to the effective implementation of reservation. Updating of caste data is a long overdue demand of the backward sections of the country. In a society where caste still rules every aspect, we cannot base all our affirmative actions and developmental projects on data that are nearly a century old. Accurate and up-to-date data of the castes are vital for equitable distribution of development and social justice projects. When decisions like the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections and exclusion of Creamy Layer were taken undermining reservation, it was all merely based on assumptions, and not on actual data.
Therefore, The National Executive Council of Popular Front demands caste census and adequate reservation for ensuring proportionate share to all backward sections in governance, education, and resource allocation. The NEC of Popular Front also appealed to the judiciary to uphold social justice norms and constitutional principles while deciding on issues related to representation and reservation.