Bhubaneswar: The attack on the BJD government in Odisha for suggesting socio-economic caste enumeration along with 2021 general census intensified on Monday with BJP accusing it of neglecting backward classes and stalling their development by denying them reservation.
The Naveen Patnaik government has been facing sharp criticisms from several quarters, including the BJP and Congress since it passed a resolution on Saturday to approach the Centre to conduct caste-wise enumeration of SEBCs and OBCs during the next census.
Charging the BJD government with depriving backward classes of opportunities for development in the last 20 years of its reign, BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan told reporters here that several welfare programmes for for these sections are not being implemented properly in Odisha.
He said the state government is yet to form a commission for making recommendations on exclusion and inclusion of various communities under the OBC category. This clearly shows that Naveen Patnaik government is least concerned about the development of OBCs, the BJP leader claimed.
Harichandan said Odisha’s track record is dismal in the question of implementing different provisions of the Constitution for the development of backward classes.
“Odisha is perhaps the only state which has not implemented 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in government jobs and educational institutions, which implies that the BJD government is not interested in ensuring the development of backward classes…. It must also explain why OBCs are not being provided reservation in jobs and education, he said.
In view of these, the state government’s proposal for conducting caste-wise enumeration of OBCs and SEBCs during the census is of no meaning, the BJP leader said and asked the Naveen Patnaik government to explain why it has not yet appointed OBC commission.
Lashing out at the BJD government for not implementing Mandal Commission recommendations, former union minister Srikant Jena said there is no cabinet rank minister for the development and welfare of ST, SC, minorities and backward classes in the state.
It shows the BJD government is not sincere about the development of backward classes, he said and demanded that the state immediately implement 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 38.5 per cent quota for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in employment and education.
While over 94 percent of Odisha’s population are eligible to get caste-based reservations, only six per cent are getting the benefits, he said. The Centre has already provided 27 per cent reservations to OBCs in government jobs and in educational institutions for their welfare as per the provision of the Constitution, Jena said.
Dismissing the allegations, Minister of State for ST and SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare, Jagannath Sarka said the government is concerned about development of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes as well as backward classes, who are being provided various educational facilities.
He said the process for setting up of OBC Commission in the state is also underway.