May 19, 2020
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'V.P. Singhji's Was A Kneejerk Reaction'

Union human resources development minister Arjun Singh spoke to Outlook about the Supreme Court verdict upholding 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.

'V.P. Singhji's Was A Kneejerk Reaction'
'V.P. Singhji's Was A Kneejerk Reaction'

Two thakurs, you and V.P. Singh, starting a social revolution. One providing reservation in government jobs and the other in government-aided educational institutions...

There is absolutely no correlation between the two. V.P. Singhji said he would implement the Mandal report. My approach to reservation for OBCs started way back in 1984 in Madhya Pradesh with Indira Gandhi's permission. Naturally, the scope then was limited to reservation in political life. This attempt, started three years ago, is in continuance with the recommendations of the backward classes commission. It was passed unanimously in Parliament. This reservation is not a kneejerk reaction like V.P. Singhji's on the Mandal report. There was no build-up to it. In the present case, there was a gradual build-up and therefore, when all parties in Parliament came on board, it was that much stronger.

How do you plan to take your allies with you? Are some of their apprehensions justified?

Their position is understandable. I meet them regularly. These things have to be managed; there is no escape from it. The verdict is a historic judgement.

Are IIMs bound by the order? They think since they offer post-graduate diploma courses they don't have to comply with the SC order which limits quota to graduate courses....

There's no confusion. The IIMs will fall in line.

Has a directive gone from the HRD ministry to the IIMs?

Not yet. But there will be one.

How are you going to draw up the creamy layer list?

The cabinet committee on political affairs will decide this in a couple of days.

There are reports you may raise the income ceiling to such a level that the creamy layer will become eligible for reservation....

People shouldn't speculate adversely.
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