No response from Centre on Rajasthan's proposal for Gujjar NT status

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Nagpur, Jun 7 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) All India General Secretary Gopinath Munde today said there has been no response for the last six months from the Centre, on a proposal from the Government of Rajasthan to grant the status of a Nomadic Tribe (NT) to the Gujjars, now agitating for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Munde, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Rajasthan, said the proposal had been sent to the Centre for clearance, as it would necessitate increasing the quota of reservations in Rajasthan beyond 50 per cent. ''The present quantum is 49 per cent. Reservation cannot be more than 50 per cent without the Centre's approval,'' he said.

The Government of Rajasthan had invited leaders of the Gujjar community for talks, to Jaipur, Mr Munde said. ''The leaders want the discussions to be held in Bayana, where thousands from the community are agitating. This is not feasible. They must send a delegation,'' he added.

The state government had no authority to grant ST status to the Gujjars, Mr Munde pointed out, adding that even the Justice Chopra Committee, appointed on their own demand, had not recommended it.

The Chopra Committee had said that the Gujjars were a backward community, and recommended that steps be taken for their welfare, Mr Munde said.

The Government of Rajasthan was doing everything within its power for the Gujjar community, and had even devised a Rs 282 crore package for them, Mr Munde said, adding that the ongoing agitation would not affect the BJP.

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