Months before the Lok Sabha elections in India, the Union Cabinet on Monday has approved 10 per cent reservation for economically backward upper castes, according to a report by CNBC-Awaaz. The report adds that the quota will be applicable for those belonging to upper castes who earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum. This quota will be for those applying for public employment and in educational institutions.
However, there will be no quota for those owning land covering 5 acres and above and for those who have residential houses of 1,000 square foot and above.
The 10 per cent reservation will be over and above the 50 per cent reservation already granted to the SC, ST and OBC communities in India.
The government is likely to table the Bill seeking to amend Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution in the Parliament on Tuesday, which is the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament, according to media reports.
Article 15 (4) of the Constitution says that the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Article 16 (4) allows for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State
The quota will include sections not falling under any provision of reservation such as Brahmins, Banias, Thakurs, Jats, Gujjars, Muslims and Christians," a source privy to the decision told IANS. He said that rules will be framed in due course to implement the Cabinet decision.
The decision comes four months before the Lok Sabha polls and after the reverses suffered by BJP in the Assembly polls in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The BJP was said to have faced the wrath of the upper castes, especially in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, over the amendment brought by the Central government to nullify the Supreme Court judgement in the SC-ST Act last year.
Reacting to the decision, BJP MP Udit Raj said it was a "bold" decision.
However, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha said the proposal was "nothing more than a jumla" which bristles with legal complications and there was no time for getting it passed in both the Houses of Parliament.
The Supreme Court had capped reservations at 50% in 1992.