'STs face most discrimination in central govt jobs'

Fewer Scheduled Tribe candidates teaching in central universities than five years ago; no SC/ST representative has made it to the top posts in CBDT since 1987, says study

trithesh

Trithesh Nandan | September 18, 2013



When it comes to discrimination in jobs at the central universities, people from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) are the most discriminated-against section, it has emerged.

According to the latest study done by Delhi-based think-tank Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), candidates from ST communities face more discrimination in jobs than even their counterparts from Scheduled Castes (SC) communities. The study found that no SCs/ST candidate has till date been appointed chairman or member in the central board of direct taxes (CBDT).

“The representation of STs in the post of professors has come down from 3.88 percent (46 STs against total of 1,187 professors) in 2006-07 to 0.24 percent (4 STs against total sanctioned posts of 1,667 professors) in 2010-11; from 1.03 percent (18 STs against total of 1,744 readers) in 2006-2007 to 0.32 percent (10 STs against total sanctioned posts of 3,155 readers) in 2010-11 in the post of readers; and from 4.43 percent (129 STs against total of 2,914 lecturers) in 2006-07 to 3.63 percent (193 STs against total posts of 5,317) in 2010-11 in the post of lecturers,” says the 58-page report released on Wednesday.

This study is based on the information obtained through RTI applications filed with the University Grants Commission (UGC).

According to the report, representation of STs in teaching jobs at central universities is less than their presence in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). People from ST communities occupied 2.68 percent jobs at the level of secretary to the central government in 2010-11, while only 0.24 percent professors at central universities were STs, it was found.

“During the same period, at the level of the additional secretary and joint secretary, the combined representation of the STs was 2.5 percent, while the representation of STs at the level of readers in central universities was 0.32 percent,” the study notes.

“Jobs for STs are going down in universities because they (ST candidates) are normally rejected even if they are qualified for the post. It is possibly a reflection of the opposition to the reservation policy in higher educational institutions,” ACHR director Suhas Chakma told Governance Now.

The report points out that the maximum vacancies for ST posts are found in the central government jobs. “The maximum number of backlog vacancies with the central government was 12,195 posts for STs, followed by 8,332 posts for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 6,961 posts for Scheduled Castes (SCs)” it notes.

CBDT: no representation of SCs/STs at the top level

Since 1987, there has been no chairman, or even members, from SCs/STs at the central board of direct taxes (CBDT), the organization responsible for collection of income tax, the ACHR study reveals. Information before 1987 was not available with the government as per parliamentary findings submitted in November 2012, the report says.

Appointment for top posts in the CBDT is made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary, the committee – comprising principal secretary to the prime minister, home secretary, secretary (personnel), department of personnel and training and secretary, department of revenue as members – select the members and chairman of CBDT.

“The committee notes that for the past 25 years no member from SC/ST community has ever occupied the post of chairman/member of CBDT. The committee vehemently quash the lame excuse of the Government that this scenario is a result of either non-availability of eligible officers or that available applicants do not meet comparative merit criteria,” the parliamentary standing committee on welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes observed in its 24th report.

The report, titled ‘Reservation for and employment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Central Board of Direct Taxes’, also came down heavily on the functioning of CBDT. “Every year a good number of SC/ST candidates qualify the examination for promotion but only a few are promoted by the CBDT,” it said. “Despite having SC/ ST candidates who are eligible for promotion, the CBDT has been depriving these candidates of their rightful promotion.”

The CBDT consists of a chairman and six different members. The board looks after income-tax, legislation and computerisation, personnel and vigilance, investigation, revenue, audit and judicial. According to the CBDT, the posts of chairman and members of CBDT are ex-cadre posts.

“It means that the government’s intention is not to give fair representation to people from the downtrodden community,” Chakma remarked.

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