Recently, Governor Satya Pal Malik has given his assent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2014, providing reservation to the persons belonging to the Pahari community, clan or tribe having distinct cultural, ethnic and linguistic identity, in government jobs.
Still, a lot needs to be done as the methodology and authority for the identification of the Pahari community are yet to be notified by the government.
The need for reservation has been explained as,
“Because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of the areas of their residence, the Pahari community has historically faced considerable economic distress, leading to overall socio-economic backwardness…
… They are not able to compete with other sections of society who are better placed in terms of socio-economic position as also in terms of access to services like education and healthcare due to above mentioned disadvantages. Also, the Pahari people are not able to derive any benefit even at the lower rung in respect of getting employment”
The welfare legislation is aimed at providing job opportunities to the Pahari people residing in backward areas of the state.
Pahari people are not only living in difficult mountainous areas but are living in pitiable condition with abject poverty. After the country was partitioned in 1947, geographical, social, economic and cultural links of the community with the plains of Punjab got disconnected and shelling from across the border and other factors rendered their vast land uncultivated. This reservation shall definitely go a long way in ameliorating their economic backwardness and inadequacy of representation.