The associates of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) often claim that these days the Dalits and the OBCs run the country. Look at the significant number of OBCs holding Constitutional positions and have been elected to various legislatures, they say. But despite a Dalit president, an OBC prime minister and a number of OBC ministers, why is the reservation regime becoming increasingly irrelevant and why are so many reserved posts lying vacant?
According to numbers put out by the central government, more than half of the posts reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and OBCs in central government services are lying vacant. The same situation prevails in central universities, which are autonomous institutions where central government recruitment rules apply. At the end of the year 2021, the government admitted that almost half of the reserved posts in central universities were lying vacant. In a written answer to a question in Parliament, the government said that of the 5,737 posts reserved for SCs in 45 central universities, 2,389 are vacant. The corresponding figures for STs are 3,097 and 1,199 and for OBCs 7,815 and 4,251. In Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), 157 of 380 posts reserved for SCs, 88 of 180 for STs and 231 of 346 reserved for OBCs are vacant. These figures betray an extreme disregard, bordering on mockery, of reservation norms.