The new 10% quota, its implications, and more

The new 10% quota, its implications, and more

News:

Lok Sabha passed a Bill allowing 10% quota in employment and education for the general category candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections.

Important Facts:

  • Who will the new 10% quota apply to
    • To those who are not covered in existing quotas
    • Family income below ₹8 lakhs a year or agricultural land below 5 acres.
    • Those who have a house above 1,000 square feet or a 100-yard plot.
    • In case of a residential plot in a non-notified municipality area, the residential plot should be below 200 yards.

Process to be followed to pass the bill:

  • Constitution Amendment is required to add economic backwardness as a ground for reservations because the constitution does not provide for reservation on the ground of economic conditions and Bill have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament by a special majority of two-thirds of the members present and voting, which should not be less than one-half of the total strength of the House.
  • If it is not passed by both the Houses within the term of this Lok Sabha, it will lapse. The Bill will also have to be ratified by at least half the State Assemblies.

Future Implications:

  • If the Supreme Court agrees to lift the 50% cap, all States of India can extend the quantum of reservation and “upper castes” will stand to lose in State services.
  • If the Supreme Court rejects the idea of breaching the 50% cap, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quotas can be provided only by eating into the SC, ST and OBC quota pie, which will have social and political implications.
  • The move may have some appeal to upper castes in States.

Government Escape:

  • The 10 per cent reservation will be over and above the 50 per cent reservation stipulated by the Supreme Court. Any reservation above the cap invites judicial scrutiny. But the government has argued that the fresh reservation depends on economy, not caste and so, will not fall foul of the top court

Impact of reservation:

  • If the EWS is treated as a category just like the SC, ST and OBC, a large chunk of general category candidates will apply for just 10% seats and the cut-offs can rise.
  • Candidates who are above the general cut-off may still occupy this 10% quota to get a better service or cadre for example in UPSC.
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