//'Scrap Knowledge Commission' : Udit Raj

'Scrap Knowledge Commission' : Udit Raj

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: A pro-quota front comprising representatives of SC/STs and OBCs has struck back at Sam Pitroda-headed Knowledge Commission demanding the panel be scrapped. The Commission has ruled against the extension of OBC quotas to central universities and elite institutions.

The convener of the Arakshan Samarthak Morcha, Udit Raj, on Tuesday said: "The Knowledge Commission should be dismantled as majority of its members are not connected with the reality of caste discrimination, problems of tribals and village society."

He said that Pitroda "may have a lot of technical knowledge, but knows very little about Indian society." Raj lauded "progressive" upper caste representatives like Jayati Ghosh, also a member of the Commission, " who had better understanding of the issue.

" He said his front was fighting for the right already given to SC/ST and the OBCs in the Constitution.

The main objective of the framers of the Constitution was to bring into the mainstream of progress, all those who had been left behind for centuries.

The Front speakers criticised the anti-quota sentiments as an "expression of self interest" of handful of upper caste and elite people.

They alleged that anti-reservationists were being backed by some "big industrialists, elite corporate houses and private education mafias."

Arjun gets regional human resource


NEW DELHI: Union Human resource minister Arjun Singh’s promise on OBC quota on Wednesday produced a combative spinoff.

Signalling a rush for caste politics in institutions of excellence, UPA’s ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) accused IIT Madras of being a “fortress of the upper class”.

PMK leader Ramadoss, who backed Mr Singh’s promise, also came up with a new demand — reserving seats for the “son of the soil”. He said that IIT Madras should reserve seats for Backward candidates belonging to Tamil Nadu. “The sons of the soil, the OBC community of Tamil Nadu, has every right to seats in the IIT here,” an agency report quoting the PMK leader said.

“Real intellect lies among the backward community. Why give only 27%, give them 50%, it is their birth right,” Mr Ramadoss said, adding the “Congress-DMK-PMK combine at the Centre will ensure that it is implemented”.

The UPA constituent’s attack on institutions of excellence and the resolve to force the government’s hands on the issue is sure to anger not only academic world but also large sections of the middle class, a constituency which the prime minister has been trying to nurture.

This section is of late getting uneasy over Dr Manmohan Singh’s failure to stand up to partisan pressures and unwholesome reflexes of his allies. If the current mood among the quota freaks in the UPA is anything to go by, the ruling regime is left with few options.

Sensing this, the prime minister has already indicated that raising the number of seats in educational institutions could be a solution. That the government’s capitulation may encourage reservation enthusiasts to make fresh demands was evident when the PMK said that it would insist for a “son of the soil” quota.

In states where politics is equally volatile, Ramadoss’s demand could find many an echo. The rising political temperature over the issue does not suit the Congress. The leadership’s failure to state its preference on the matter has been giving the impression of the regime merely coping with this or that fallout of the reservation promise.

Meanwhile, the newly-floated Pro-Reservation Front on Wednesday demanded disbandment of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) for opposing hike in OBC quota.

Launching a broadside against NKC chairman Sam Pitroda, Dalit leader Udit Raj said: “The panel’s chairman Sam Pitroda lives in the United States, he may be better qualified to comment on telephony, computers and science but certainly not on the reservation issue.”


Pro Reservation Front seeks sacking of AIIMS director


Citing the Supreme Court order that doctors can not go on strike, the Pro Resrvation Front (PRF) today sought sacking of AIIMS's director for allegedly helping doctors in their agitations.

In a press release, Dr Udit Raj, convenor of the PRF, demanded that Venu Gopal, Director of AIIMS, be sacked as he was extending tacit support to agitating doctors, who are opposing the reservation policy of the centre, by allowing them to sit on dharna inside the premises of the premier institution of the country.


Quota debate: The politics of reservation

Sunday, April 30, 2006 (New Delhi):

The new proposal of reservations for OBCs in central universities has reignited the debate on whether those belonging to the creamy layer, including politicians and bureaucrats, need such special privileges in the first place.

When Udit Raj first came to Delhi in the early 80s, he had big goals in life.

Coming from a small village in the Ramnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, he got into the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on a seat reserved for dalit students.

In 1988 he got selected to the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), again on quota, and then went on to become an Additional Income Tax Commissioner, only to leave it all in 2002.

But his tenure was enough for him to secure the future of his children.

His son and daughter now have access to everything that would give them opportunities to compete with the best in the world.

"I benefited enormously from reservation. And I think we are now equal with others. So my son preparing for engineering is competing in general quota. I have already told him that," said Udit Raj, Leader, Justice Party.

But there are very few who think like Udit.

Social bias

In fact most of the times the argument has been that those who do not need any special privileges are the ones who get them all.

Kanti Lal Bhuria, Minister of State for Agriculture, is a tribal from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. He has been a successful politician from the tribal belt of the state and was able to provide the best for his children.

But he thinks the social bias is too deep for his children to skip the benefits of the quota system.

"We have a good environment. We are also from a village. We have studied and come so far in life. I went to college, and then joined politics. And now we are educating our children as well," said Bhuria.

Brilliant record

There are others like Ajit Jogi, who despite their humble beginnings, made it big without any help.

Born in a small village in Bilaspur, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister's academic record was brilliant and had no need for any special privileges.

"I never availed reservation till I entered politics. Then people started questioning how I cleared my IAS exam if I did not avail the benefit of the reservation policy," said Jogi.

Jogi however, says he will not be taken seriously as a tribal leader if he does not support the quotas.


Pro-reservation demonstration he
ld before Orissa Raj Bhavan


Amidst countrywide protests against reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions, a pro-reservation demonstration was organised in front of the Raj Bhavan here today.

The demonstration was organised under the banner of Social Justice Movement led by its President Ashok Das.

Former Union Minister and President of the newly-formed Orissa Mukti Morcha Bhajaman Behera, President of the state unit of Samajwadi Party Baishnab Parida, former MP Anchal Das and former MLA Sura Sethi also joined the demonstration.

A five-member delegation led by Ashok Das later submitted a memorandum addressed to Governor Rameswar Thakur which hailed the UPA government's move to provide reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions.

"It (the reservation) is a right and timely decision and we, the backward class people wholeheartedly stand by this", it said.

The memorandum also urged the Governor to prevail upon the government to make law for reservation in the private sector as employment opportunities were "very few".