Upper caste quota violates basic tenet of reservations: Experts
The Constitutional amendment bill creating 10 per cent quota for economically backward sections in the general category is only for the ‘privileged class’ and violates the basic tenet of reservations, activists and academics say.
“This reservation is not for the poorest of the poor communities. This is for the privileged class,” Ashok Bharti, Chairman, National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), India, told IANS.
He said the government cannot divide the society in the name of income and caste. “Those who are earning around Rs 1 lakh or a little above cannot compete with those who are earning around Rs 7 lakh yearly. Government officials in their initial days of service earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum but their children will be drawing the benefits in the education and job sector,” he said.
Parliament on Wednesday passed the 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill, with the Rajya Sabha approving the measure a day after the Lok Sabha did so.
The Cabinet had on Monday approved the Bill, providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for people belonging to "unreserved categories", including Christians and Muslims, with an annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh and land holding ceiling of about five acres.
Apoorvanand, a Professor in Delhi University's Hindi Department, said the Bill violates the "basic feeling (tenet) of reservation" which is usually considered as compensation for the social boycott faced by the marginalized communities.
Currently, in Central-government funded higher education institutions, 22.5 per cent of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students (7.5 per for SCs, 15 per cent for STs) and 27 per cent for OBCs.
Apoorvanand said the latest measure was aimed at winning upper caste vote in the Lok Sabha elections. He contended that the reservation was granted to hide the government's failure in generating sufficient employment opportunities for the youth.
By Nivedita Singh and Somrita Ghosh