In a major push to include castes in the Scheduled Caste (SC) category, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, on Friday, has added 17 castes including Kashyap, Mallah, Kumhar, Rajbhar, Prajapati, and others in the list of Scheduled Castes, according to ANI. Authorities have been directed to issue caste certificate to families belonging to these 17 castes.
The castes that have been added into this list are - Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham, Fisherman, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar, Pottar, Dhimar, Manjhi, Tuhaha and Gaur, which previously belonged to the other backward caste (OBC) category, as per reports. This move is seen as an attempt by the Yogi Government to provide these social and economically backward classes with the benefits of reservation.
Previously, both the SP and BSP governments had attempted to include the above-mentioned castes into SC category but failed to do so. In 2005, the then UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav had issued a similar order to include these castes in the SC category but was opposed by the Allahabad High Court.
Similarly, in 2007, the then UP CM Mayawati too had written a letter to the Centre proposing the inclusion of the castes into the SC list. Her successor Akhilesh Yadav, in December 2016, prior to the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly elections, Yadav had attempted to include these 17 castes by issuing a notice to the Centre to do the needful. But the BJP government's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment led by Thawar Chand Gehlot had not allowed the implementation after the issue was challenged in the Allahabad High Court.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of these castes by the Yogi Government is seen as 'voter-appeasement' by many in the run-up to the Assembly by-polls in the state.
Earlier on June 19, the Uttar Pradesh state cabinet had approved the draft Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Ordinance 2019 in which there is a clause where private universities are required to sign an undertaking that they will not undertake 'anti-national' activities. It gives the state government to take action if a university is found involved in any such activity. The policy will be presented before the cabinet in the upcoming assembly session.
The draft policy is an umbrella act to bring private universities under the government's authority so as to incorporate the development of nationalism, social and international harmony, national integration, secularism, and moral values.