On the last day of the Lok Sabha’s winter session, the lower Parliamentary house was echoed with raging debates on Rafale deal and the Citizenship Amendment Bill, when the NDA government tabled a constitutional bill for granting 10% reservation to the economically backward upper class citizens in jobs and higher education.
As per the proposed amendment bill that was passed by the Union Cabinet on Monday, the government wants to amend the Constitution and provide 10% reservation to the poor among upper class general category people who are not eligible for other reservations. This means, general category castes like Brahmins, Rajputs, Muslims, Christians and others who earn less than Rs 8 lakh annually, have agricultural land below five acres, a residential house below 1000 sq ft or a residential plot 100 yards will be eligible for the 10% reservation quota in getting jobs and upper education.
The Bill is currently tabled in the Lok Sabha, and if passed, it will move to the Rajya Sabha tomorrow, where it needs to be passed with a majority of two-third. The move is welcomed by the non-creamy layer of the general category, but the political backdrop of the move may, however, suggest that it could possibly be the incumbent government’s attempt to woo the upper caste voters – who are its core supporters, just ahead of the election. Also, the idea that the economically weaker section of the society can be solved through marginal reservation is preposterous.
Also, the proposed Bill itself breaches the 50% reservation ceiling defined in the Constitution and attested by the Supreme Court. This raises a number of questions – is the breach of the 50% ceiling for including the economically weak but socially forward group capable of mustering up the constitutional matter? Will this be disapproved by the reserved communities, who have been pushing the idea of breaching the 50% ceiling since long? But among all this, there’s a possibly-unintentional silver lining around the Bill – if passed, it will remove the stigma of reservation that is associated with lower and backward castes since decades.