Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Crying Need to Oversee Implementation of Reservation Rules

RESERVATIONS for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in government and public sector institutions have been secured through protracted mass struggles, legal skirmishes and political pressure exerted by the Left and progressive forces in the Indian sub-continent. This has slowly opened, though not fully, the corridors of administrative hierarchy to those educated sections belonging to the downtrodden sections of society.

The extent of the success of reservation policy in employment is dependent on the sincere implementation of the policies presented and rules observed meticulously. That alone would ensure at least part fulfillment of the requirements of social justice. But along the way, subtle attempts to wreck the implementation of these rules by vested interests continue to be encountered.

As a consequence it limits the entry of needy sections into the government apparatus. That being an apparent fact, it is shocking that public sector banks which should have social orientation lead the pack in improper implementation of reservation rules in the matter of recruitment - an issue which alone is sought to be focussed in this write up.

Now, nationalised banks have embarked upon large scale recruitment exercise. A glance at the website of Indian Overseas Bank regarding appointment shows the improper implementation of reservation rules.(link)

The data on this website, is an irrefutable evidence of gross violation of constitutionally mandated rules prescribed by the government of India. As a sample, the data reveals that in  Tamilnadu, while cut-off marks for general category is 198(Low) that for OBCs is 205(High). In Gujarat, for general category it is 197(Low), for SCs it is 216(High). Similar figures are there for various states of India.

This clearly shows that the cut-off marks for general category is less than that of the reserved categories. This is not in accordance with the rules. Simply put, post based reservation rules require preparation of one common merit list with appropriate reservations. For this, first, the number of vacancies as per post based reservation roster should be determined. For that, initially on the basis of total marks, a  list to the extent of vacancies to be filled up should be arrived at. Then, in accordance with reservation requirements, candidates belonging to reserved category should be brought within the initial list replacing equal number of candidates in the initial list from the last. This final list would be the selected list conforming to reservation requirement. This would also be in conformity with the judgement of Supreme court which has ruled that persons belonging to the reserved categories who are appointed on the basis of merit and not on account of reservation are not to be counted towards the quota meant for reservation. This makes it absolutely necessary that the cut-off marks of the last person in the general category list cannot be lower than that of the cut-off marks of the reserved categories.

In such a scenario, the select panel as reflected in the recruitment exercise of Indian Overseas Bank raises several questions on the correctness of preparation of select list of candidates on merit including reservation points. The methodology adopted for filling up of vacancies from the waiting list in case of drop outs from main list also seems to be faulty as there also seems to be a flawed understanding that replacements can be effected on the basis of caste identity rather than merit-cum-reservation entitlement. It also raises a question whether separate panels for each category are drawn in contravention of government prescriptions. This shortcoming gets highlighted by high cut-off marks for reserved categories and low cut-off marks for general categories. It becomes necessary to understand that general categories or open categories include SC/ST/OBC and other castes on merit so that such improper selection does not take place.

In this contemporary era of mass recruitment in public sector banks, it becomes imperative for the government of India to ensure proper implementation of reservation policy in the matter of recruitment to ensure social justice guaranteed under the constitution. This episode at the Indian Overseas Bank demands that the entire set of direction/rules handed out by the apex bodies in banking industry must be thoroughly analysed for immediate remedial action. This action brooks no delay.

Madhavan & Ganesh People's Democracy 10 February 2013

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