Notice sent to ONGC over inquiry on OBC employees ‘exploitation, quota violation’: Govt Panel

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ONGC receives notice after skipping meeting with National Commission for Backward Classes, which has data showing company did not fill its OBC employee quota for about 13 years.

Via The Print

New Delhi: The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) Friday sent a show cause notice to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for allegedly violating reservation rules for other backward classes for years, besides “exploiting” and “harassing” such employees.

The NCBC had sent a notice to the company on 14 August, asking it to attend a review meeting with its members to explain the “violation”. The company members, however, didn’t turn up for the meeting, following which the show cause notice was sent.

According to data collated by the NCBC, the ONGC did not recruit the required number of OBC employees since 1993. Further, OBC employees were exploited, and those who objected were harassed, according to the commission’s findings.

The NCBC has now asked the company, which is a public sector undertaking (PSU), to appear before it in the next week to explain their “misconduct”, failing which it would initiate strict action against the company.

When ThePrint reached Harish Awal, deputy general manager of Corporate Communications at ONGC, he said the company will respond to the allegations Monday.

According to the NCBC’s show cause notice, ONGC has been “directed to give an explanation by appearing before the commission at the headquarters by 25-8-2020 at 11.30 am”.

“In case, you don’t appear within the stipulated time, the commission is at liberty to exercise the powers of Civil Court under clause (8) of article 338 B of Constitution of India for enforcing your attendance before the commission and strict action will be taken against and it will be presumed that you have no explanation to submit and further action will be initiated against you,” it added.

Lokesh Kumar Prajapati, vice-chairman of the commission, told ThePrint strict action will be taken against ONGC if they do not respond on time.

‘Violating’ OBC policy since 1993

In its 14 August notice, accessed by ThePrint, the commission had stated that “that there have been severe irregularities in the implementation of the reservation policy” by ONGC.

Apart from not recruiting the required number of OBC employees, the commission, in its notice, observed that “OBC employees are exploited and people who raise their voices are subjected to extreme harassment … It has come to the notice of the commission that there have been severe irregularities in the implementation of the reservation policy, violations in the implementations of apprenticeship since 2018 and in previous recruits”.

According to an order issued last March by the Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes, 27 per cent of the recruits in all central government posts should be from the OBC category.

The commission’s data, seen by ThePrint, stated that in 1993, only 11 OBC candidates were recruited by the ONGC. The total number of vacancies was 286, and by law, 77 OBC candidates should have been recruited that year.

In 1994, the ONGC had 99 vacancies, but recruited only eight OBC candidates. The law required it to hire 26 OBC candidates.

The commission’s data stated that this trend has been continuing for about 13 years — 1993 to 2016.

This apart, for every year, when the required number of OBC candidates were not recruited, the difference had to be carried forward as a ‘shortfall’ to the next year. But the ONGC, despite under-recruiting OBC candidates, showed a shortfall of zero in all these years, the NCBC data stated.

After collating all this information, the commission had on 27 February sent a questionnaire to the company, asking for an explanation for such violations. But ONGC didn’t gave a reply to the commission.

ONGC officer had ‘no knowledge’ of quota policy

According to NCBC Vice-President Prajapati, he had visited the ONGC’s office in Delhi in February this year before the questionnaire was sent to the PSU and spoke to a company official about the OBC rule violations.

“Conversation with the liaison officer there was unsatisfactory. He had no knowledge of the reservation policy or the grievances of OBC employees. We launched an inquiry immediately after that,” he told ThePrint.

“We have observed a gross violation of reservation rules dating back to 1993. We have also seen cases in ONGC where employees of the OBC category were mistreated when they asked for transfer or a promotion.”

Another official from the commission, who didn’t want to be named, said there have been similar discrepancies in the recruitment of apprentices as well.

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