Ahead of elections in five states, the Union Cabinet today cleared a proposal to fill pending vacancies of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs in the central government, a move that will benefit around 50,000 people.
The proposal, discussed and approved in the Cabinet meeting held here this morning, comes soon after the government decision to allow 4.5 per cent reservation to minorities within the OBC quota.
Sources said a Cabinet note circulated earlier stated the government had failed to fill up the SC/ST and OBC vacancies in the central government. The last such effort was made in 2008 when the government had launched a special recruitment drive for these categories.
Though implementation of this decision will be possible only after the polls are over as the code of conduct is in force, its announcement is apparently aimed at sending a signal to the Dalits, STs and OBCs in poll-bound states, especially Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand.
Both UP and Punjab have sizable Dalit population and the Congress has been trying hard to woo them. Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has tried to influence the Dalit votebank and wean them away from the Mayawati-led BSP.
The decision comes close on the heels of the earlier government move to give reservation to minorities. This was seen as a move to win over Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.
Sources said it was found that the SC quota in central government jobs was not being filled up by at least half a dozen ministries.
The ministries were directed to take steps to speed up the filling of these vacancies and take the help of the Ministry of Personnel.
Sources said the focus would be training job seekers from the SC/ST categories in order to make them competent enough to be able to get through. There are around 75 such vacancies with one third of them being cases of promotion.