The Congress reiterated its demand for job reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and possibly even Other Backward Classes, something the party has flagged in the past. It also suggested that 50 per cent posts in the party be reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities at all levels in the party.
However, the context has changed and the demand is even more urgent now, said members of the Social Justice and Empowerment Group at the party's 'Chintan Shivir' currently underway at Udaipur. The government has embarked on a massive privatisation exercise and the sale of state owned entities will mean a loss of jobs and livelihood for communities that have guaranteed job reservation mandated by the constitution. "The action of selling off companies like Air India will have a powerful impact on socially backward communities and it is the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s responsibility to ensure the rights of SC and ST are protected even after the privatisation. In the midst of an overall employment crisis, the protection of these rights becomes even more crucial," leaders said.
Party Leader R Raju announced that at the level of the organisation, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), will hear many suggestions from the group. This includes the formation of an advisory council in the party that will advise the party on steps to be taken for greater inclusion of SCs and STs at various levels in the organisation. The council will also propose steps that the party will agitate so that SC and ST members have a place in governance structures.The council is visualised as a body like the National Advisory Council (NAC) that acted as a group to propose administrative changes and reforms in governance. It was the NAC’s intervention that led to the Right to Education as a statutory right, the Right to Information and the Right to Education, all formulated when the Congress was in power from 2004 to 2013.
The party will also hold meetings and special sessions at the level of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), PCCs and other bodies to discuss issues of SC, STs and minorities. It will press for seat reservations for Other Backward Classes in assemblies and Parliament.