Chopra recommends abrogation of ST criteria

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Jaipur, Dec 18 (UNI) The Justice Jasraj Chopra committee on Gujjar's demand for ST reservation even while accepting Gujjars as 'backward,' could not recommend its inclusion in same as it said the criteria for ST has become ''obsolete and outdated''.

It has advised the state government to take the matter with the Centre ''to abrogate the criteria used so far for this''.

The committee suggested that the present criteria be replaced with quantifiable one that would be relevent in the present context and withstand judicial scrutiny. It noted that, ''there is a previous instance where the state made recommendation to include two ethnic groups in the ST but the fact remains that even after the lapse of two decades, those communities are still to be included''.

The committee in its report, suggested setting up of a ''Board for the Underdeveloped and Inconvenient Areas'' to attend to the problems faced by the people living a life of abject poverty in such areas like ravines, Dangs, Chhinds, forests and hills where development has not yet reached. It said, ''these are the areas where most of the backward amongst Gujjar reside and for whom their community leaders raised their voice.

For this purpose, the government should benevolenty allocate sizeable funds for a reasonable period of time by prioritising its developmental activities''.

Emphasis will have to be made on building roads to link these communities with the mainstream, motivating their children to get educated and improving health and hygiene of the communities through provision of drinking water, immunisation and better health care of children and of the aged.

The committee also advised that, ''it would be desirable to provide all these in a special package rather than to insert them in the already existing schemes.

UNI

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