Even as the dust has barely settled down post-Indian airstrikes on terror in PoK and Pakistan, the Union Cabinet held its meeting yesterday and took a number of key decisions, security as well as non-security, signifying the government’s resolve not to get distracted by the prevailing security issues. Instead, it was about adopting a comprehensive approach to matters of governance of which extension of social justice to the state of J&K was one key dimension.
The Significance of it all
- This is a clear signal to the country and the world at large that despite the ongoing security issues artificially created by Pakistan on the borders, the administrative machinery is up and running in the usual mode and governance can’t be derailed under any circumstances.
- By extending benefits of reservation to areas around international border, the government has shown its sensitivity to the people directly impacted by a security situation, or the threat of one, on the borders.
- The government has also asserted its natural sovereignty on the borders clearly telling the neighbouring country that unlike earlier governments, India is in no mood to tolerate any misadventure on its borders.
- By extending the EWS reservation to the state, the government has shown its concern for the economically struggling sections of the state irrespective of caste or religion, while also establishing its secular and non-partisan credentials.
- By extending the promotion benefits to SCs and STs in the state, the government has also affirmed its commitment to the socially and educationally underprivileged people in the state. Significantly, it had been hanging for 24 long years.
- Through these measures, the government has earnestly endeavoured to extend the same benefits that rest of the country enjoys. This also conveys government attempt at facilitating greater integration of the citizens of J&K with the rest of India.
- Above all, the Cabinet decisions, particularly on J&K, clearly conveys that while the government may be sensitive to its citizens’ concerns, India is not a soft state any more.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019
- The Cabinet approved the proposal of Jammu & Kashmir Government to issue “The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019′ by the President of India.
- It provides for amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 with a view to bring persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of reservation, at par with persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
- Earlier, the provision of 3% reservation was available only for youth living within 6 km of LoC in J&K.
- Now, this provision will be applicable for people living near the international border also.
- This has been a long-standing demand of the population living near the international border, as they have been directly affected by the cross-border firing in J&K.
Extension of 10% reservation to EWS to the State
- Under this, the 10% reservation recently granted to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) through the 103rd Constitution Amendment, would also be extended to the state of J&K.
- This would pave the way for reserving State Government jobs to the youth of J&K who are from economically weaker sections belonging to any religion or caste.
- This will be in addition to such reservation available in Central government jobs also.
Extension of Promotion in Reservation to SCs and STs
- Benefit of promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, has also been made applicable to the State of J&K.
- It means that clause 4 A in Article 16 under Constitution (Seventy Seventh Amendment) Act, 1995 providing for reservation in promotion for SCs and STs would also be extended to J&K.
- This has been extended after a long wait of 24 years.
- Notably, there are 13 Scheduled Castes under (J&K) scheduled castes order, 1956, and 12 Scheduled Castes under (J&K) Scheduled Tribes order, 1989.
- One of the communities to benefit in J&K would be Gujjars. Notably Gurjars are OBCs in Rajasthan (and Haryana) where they have been demanding a 5% quota for Special Backward Classes (SBCs) within the OBC quota limit.