Monday, December 21, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Top govt posts elude Dalits: Govt data

Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, December 21, 2009
First Published: 01:41 IST(21/12/2009)
Last Updated: 01:42 IST(21/12/2009)

Top govt posts elude Dalits: Govt data

More than half a century after Scheduled Castes were constitutionally
guaranteed reservation in government services, top posts in the
central bureaucracy have constantly eluded them.

The figures: not one out of the 88 central government secretaries is a
Dalit. On other crucial posts, too, Dalit representation is dismal:
1.52 per cent at additional secretary level (just one out of 66), 5.04
per cent at joint secretary level (13 out of 249), and 6.2 per cent at
the director level (31 out of 471).

The source: Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and
Pensions, Prithviraj Chavan's reply in the Lok Sabha.

But the problem may be far more serious."The government has not quoted
the number of officers equivalent in rank to secretary, additional
secretary or joint secretary. If you add them, the problem is much
larger," said a Dalit bureaucrat. "For example, if these are added,
the total number of additional secretary-level officers is 128, while
the number of Dalits is still the same, i.e., one."

The constitution guarantees 15 per cent SC reservation at the entry
level in central services. The total number of serving IAS officers in
India today: about 4,500.

"From the joint secretary level, there are cases of bias, and SCs are
often ignored," said retired additional secretary in the Ministry of
Law and Justice O.P. Shukla, himself a Dalit. "These are not promotion
posts but selection posts. Even if a Scheduled Caste officer is the
best, he cannot claim the right to get selected."

The selection process: for becoming joint secretary in the central
government, an officer has to get empanelled. A panel of senior
secretaries does this. Once an officer is empanelled, the DoPT takes
the final decision.

It is in this process that most Dalit officers get ignored, Dalit
bureaucrats claim. But the government has a different logic.

"We consider only those officers who have prior central experience of
at least three years at junior levels. Only those who opt for central
deputation at junior levels get it," said a senior official in the
personnel ministry.


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