Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday virtually stumped her political foes and friends alike by announcing reservations in the private sector.
The decision was taken at her Cabinet meeting on Thursday but for some reason kept under wraps until it was formally announced by her official spokesman on Friday evening.
The novel policy would however not be enforced upon all and sundry. Instead only such private entrepreneurs seeking special concessions for setting up new industrial or business units in the state would have to reserve 30 per cent positions in their respective companies for three different categories of employees.
"This would be divided equally between scheduled castes, OBCs including those belonging to the minority community and the economically weak among upper castes," Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told media persons in Lucknow on Friday evening. Thus 10 per cent jobs in all such new units would go to each of the three categories.
"The new policy would not only apply to industrial units but also to trading houses, business ventures, divested units as well as educational institutions that have sought concessions like subsidised land, tax holidays or any other grant or special rebate either directly from the state or from any agency of the state," he added.
Regarded as a shrewd political move, the Bahujan Samaj Party chief minister who has been a strong votary of reservations in the private sector, had visibly stumped all other political parties including the Congress, with which she has, of late, been building ties.
Mayawati had mooted the idea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her first meeting with him after assuming the UP chief minister's office.
She was of the view that her decision would go a long way in combating the problem of unemployment in the state where she was expecting huge private investment in the near future.