Congress to empower backward communities by ensuring greater representation to them in party

Social justice panel headed by Salman Khurshid suggested that there should be a debate within Congress on issue of reservation for backward communities in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections

Indian National Congress flag
Indian National Congress flag

Prakash Bhandari

The Congress may go for empowering backward communities through the social justice mode by ensuring greater representation to those belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backwards Communities (OBC) and the minorities in its organizational structure.

In a key recommendation, the social justice panel headed by Salman Khurshid suggested that there should be a debate within the party on the issue of reservation for backward communities in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The panel, after further deliberations, would suggest a 50 percent reservation for them in various organisational positions in the party at all levels.

The social justice committee is one of the six committees formed by the AICC to give its recommendations to the party at the Nav Sankalp Shivir currently underway in the lake city of Udaipur.

The Salman Khurshid-led committee has also come to the conclusion that the party should go for a 33 percent reservation permitting “quota within quota” for women.

It may be recalled that the Rajya Sabha had passed a Bill providing for 33 percent reservation for women in 2010, but it could not be passed in the Lok Sabha because of objections raised by the UPA government’s alliance partners.

Salman Khurshid explained that with the change of time and looking at changes in the society, specially the changing role of women in the context of social empowerment and social justice, the committee thought of suggesting the “quota within quota” in the party.

In a key recommendation, the committee suggested a caste-based census of OBCs and formation of a social justice advisory council within the party to oversee the issues related to the unprivileged.

Salman Khurshid explained that such a census would help in creating an important database for the party.

A member of the committee, K Raju, suggested that the formation of social justice advisory council would go a long way in serving the party to deal with various issues related to the SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities and it would also give impetus to such communities.

He said the committee, after much deliberations, has suggested organisational reforms to benefit the SC, ST, OBC and minorities and the recommendation for an increased participation of these communities from 20 percent to 50 percent has been recommended after much thought.

This would give a fillip to those hailing from backward communities who would then be able to participate in the organisational affairs effectively.

Thus, the party at the block, district and state and national levels would be adequately represented by these categories and help in strengthening the party within the categories.

The committee has suggested that it should raise the issue of providing reservation for the SCs, STs and OBCs in the private sector. It feels that providing reservations to them in government jobs is not adequate.

The committee also suggested representation to transgenders and disabled persons as a part of the social justice process.

Salman Khurshid said that after much deliberation, it was thought that the social justice and empowerment process should be strengthened with a view to benefit the society in general.

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