Panel will ensure reservation at the micro level

One area that needs attention is admission to Class XI

As Tamil Nadu is known for reformation and the social justice movement, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s recent decision to constitute a committee to monitor social justice in education, employment, postings, promotions and appointments has raised a pertinent question: is there any failure in the implementation of reservation that has necessitated the formation of a committee?

“There is no problem at the macro level. But reservation is not strictly followed at the micro level. The [proposed] committee will closely monitor the situation and make recommendations to the government,” said a senior government official.

Mr. Stalin, who made the announcement to mark the centenary of the first Communal Government Order issued by the Justice Party government in the Madras Presidency in 1921, pointed out that though legal measures were in place, the government decided to constitute a committee to ensure that reservation was implemented fully.

Government sources said one of the areas that required attention was admission to Plus-One at government as well as government-aided schools. “Schools, especially those in urban areas, do not follow reservation in the allotment of groups (mathematics and science) that are in demand. Students of the open category normally occupy the classrooms where the first and second group subjects, necessary for professional courses, are taught,” said an official.

He said the government would also ask government-aided schools to strictly follow reservation.

“In fact, there is a Government Order for that. But it is not followed. Former VCK MLA Ravikumar brought it to my knowledge when I was the Minister for School Education [2006-11]. I directed schools to follow reservation in the admission to Plus-One,” Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu said.

He recalled that his review meetings had covered the reservation in the Plus-One admission, but said he did not know whether it was strictly followed in the last 10 years (of AIADMK rule).

Mr. Ravikumar, now Villupuram MP, said the backlog of vacancies in various departments was proof that reservation was not fully implemented. “It is glaring in seats reserved for the Scheduled Caste in the Group IV government services,” said Mr. Ravikumar, who wrote to the Chief Minister, highlighting the vacancies in the Department of Higher Education.

Citing the All India Survey on Higher Education, he said that in Tamil Nadu, Adi Dravidas had been denied 14,317 teaching posts meant for them. “In the non-teaching category, 4,643 seats due to them have not been filled.” At some State universities, he said, the 200-point communal roster system was not implemented effectively in the appointment of faculty members. Instead of applying the communal roster to each department, they sought to adopt it for faculty appointments for the university as a whole.

Urging the Chief Minister to fill the backlog of vacancies, Mr. Ravikumar also wanted the government to implement reservation at private and self-financing colleges as they received government aid and support in many ways.

According to Mr. Ravikumar, the root-cause of the problem lay in the appointment of employees on a temporary basis. “There is no need to follow reservation rules for temporary appointments and when the services of these employees are regularised, reservation is bypassed. The government should make reservation mandatory even when temporary appointments are made and the services of temporary workers are regularised,” he said.

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