Reservation for Economically Backward Upper Castes

The Union cabinet on Monday declared 10% reservation in jobs or educational institutions for the economically backward section in the general category. The time of the announcement before the general election of 2019 can play a big role in favor of the Narendra Modi government. Experts say the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has played its biggest election card since its formation in 2014. The upper castes also appreciated this decision, which was a long pending demand.

The benefits of the reservation will be given to those economically backward poor people who are not taking advantage of reservation so far. According to Indian Express, this reservation is for those people who earn less than Rs. 8 lakh per year. To bring a law for this, amendments to Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution have to be amended.

Union minister of state for social justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale has called the decision “good start“. The issue of reservation has struggled between the Dalits and the Savarnas. My demand has always been 25% for the upper castes poor,  10% is a good start,  Indian Express quoted him as saying. Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who had left the BJP in April last year, said that move is another ‘jumla‘.

The proposed amendment Bill will define Economically Weaker Section (EWS) as one having:

  • Their annual income is below Rs 8 lakh
  • They own agriculture land below 5 acres.
  • They own residential house below 1000 sqft.
  • They own residential plot below 100 yards in a notified municipality.
  • They own residential plot below 200 yards in non-notified municipality area.

Implications:

10% reservation will be taken up to 60% of the total reservation in addition to the existing cap of 50% reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. Quota among upper castes targets the poor. It will be mandatory by the Constitution more than 50% and therefore the Constitution Amendment Bill is required.

The existing quota is approximately 49 percent, which includes:

  • 7 % for Scheduled Castes
  • 15 %  for Scheduled Tribes
  • 27% for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (including orphans and widows of any caste)

The legislation was passed in the Upper House of Parliament, in which 165 members voted in favor of it and voted against seven. This proposal was referred to the selection committee by AIADMK, Left parties and others citing the bill. The Lok Sabha had already cleared the bill with a majority of more than two-thirds, in which 323 members voted in favor and three voted in favor. Earlier, on January 7, 2019, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal to introduce the bill. The bill provides 10% quota for the economically weaker sections in the general category, which is not included in the current reservation plans.

Congress accused of an electoral gimmick “We will continue to support every step that provides employment. But when the Modi government suddenly woke up about the problems of the economically poor, the defeat of the 2019 elections and the departure of the elections within 100 days, the question of intent was, “said Randeep Surjewala of the party. “We welcome reservations in jobs, but when will you create jobs?”

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