The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday approved 10% reservation in government jobs and admission to educational institutions for economically weaker sections in the general category who are not eligible for any other reservation. The eligibility criteria for reservation will be family income and economic backwardness. At present 50% reservation is provided for both Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and those from the backward category. The reservation for the general category will not affect the existing reservation for people in other categories, a press statement on the cabinet decision said.
The cabinet decided to amend the reservation rules of the Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules for the same. The amendment will come into effect from the day the notification is issued. The Kerala government in 2019 had decided to give 10% reservation for economically weaker sections in the general category in government jobs and admission to educational institutions. This was based on the 103 amendment of the Constitution (which introduced 10% reservation for economically weaker sections) and also on the notifications of the Union government on this.
The Kerala government had appointed a commission to determine the economically weaker sections in the general category and to decide the criteria for reservation. The commission was chaired by Justice (Retired) GK Sasidharan Nair with Advocate K Rajagopalan Nair as a member. In December 2019, the government had approved the commission’s report that recommended 10% reservation for economically weaker sections. As per the commission’s recommendation, those with an annual family income below Rs 4 lakh will be eligible for the reservation. The Cabinet has now given the nod for the report with amendments mooted by the Law Department.
In January this year, the Union government had informed the Supreme Court that it would be the prerogative of the states to provide reservation for weaker sections while responding to a writ petition that economic reservation was not being implemented in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
After the 10% quota was announced in January 2019, the CPI(M) had opposed the Union Government’s criteria for reservation. The party politburo had said that it was wrong of the government to use the same criteria used for the OBC creamy layer category.
The Kerala government in August this year had issued a notification allowing 10% reservation in higher secondary and vocational higher secondary schools. The reservation, based on economic criteria, allots a number of students per school instead of reserving seats in each batch or each class.