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Quota for Economically Backward section in Government Jobs

The Union Cabinet has approved 10 percent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the unreserved economically backward classes.

In a landmark move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Union cabinet has approved a ten per cent reservation in jobs and higher education for "economically backward" sections in the general category. 


BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj has welcomed the move by the cabinet.

Minister of state Shiv Prasad Shukla has complimented the cabinet for clearing the landmark decision by the Centre. He said that the long-pending demand has been fulfilled by the NDA government.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussein also hailed the pathbreaking move by the Modi government.

While the final contours of the reservation is yet to be made public, according to people aware of the developments, “weaker section beneficiaries would include those earning less than ₹8 lakh annually, own less than 5 hectares of agricultural land, residential property of less than 1,000 sq. feet and a residential plot that is less than 109 sq. yards in a notified municipality and 209 sq. yards in a non-notified municipality”. 

A constitutional amendment bill will be tabled in Parliament Tuesday ( 8 January 2019), the last day of the Winter Session. The proposed reservation will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60 per cent. 

And the government will amend Articles 15 and 16 - which are on discrimination and equal opportunity - of the Constitution to implement it, PTI reported.

A Union minister said the bill once passed will amend the Constitution accordingly to give reservation to the poor among the general castes and classes. 

"The bill will provide a shelter for upper castes under the rubric of fundamental rights. The court's rule of the maximum 50 per cent quota cannot fetter Parliament's right to amend the Constitution," the news agency quoted him as saying. 

Among the major castes to benefit from the proposed law are Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars, several trading castes, Kapus and Kammas among other upper castes. It would also benefit the poor in other religions.

The move is being seen as a step to consolidate upper caste votes just ahead of the general elections. Most Opposition parties called it an election gimmick but are not likely to oppose it.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted that the government announced the decision only three months before the model code of conduct will be put in place for the general elections.  

The CPI(M) called it a welcome step with Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying it was a long-pending demand of the party. 

BJP ally and Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan also termed the decision by the government as "historic". Union minister and BJP ally Ramdas Athawale hailed the move and said that it "would help a large section of society, who are economically backward among different upper castes." 

Senior BJP leaders argue that the decision is aimed at widening the social justice net to enable more people from different backgrounds to benefit from government jobs and education.


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