The government needs to tread carefully on the path of 10% reservation for economically backward classes, Major General (Retd) SR Sinho told Nidhi Sharma in an exclusive interview. Sinho, 80, headed the three-member National Commission for Economically Backward Classes, whose report formed the basis of the government’s constitution amendment bill. He spoke on the findings of the commission, how states agreed to quantum of reservation and the need for a qualitative change in the way reservation is implemented. Excerpts:
The commission submitted the report in July 2010. What has happened since then?
We submitted the report after four years of intensive study between 2006 and 2010. We visited 28 states and interacted with governors, chief secretaries, ministries, NGOs and all stakeholders. The report was even discussed in the Cabinet. But then the government did not move on it.
How do you view the Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament?
Without commenting on the timing, I would like to welcome the move. It has been pending for long. During our visits to the states we felt the need to completely rethink the way reservation is implemented.
What is the way forward for the government?
The government needs to tread carefully. As we had recommended in our report, it is not just about quantum of reservation. It is also about welfare measures in healthcare, education and jobs.