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
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
"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
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
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.