10% Reservations for Economically Weaker Sections of Upper Castes

In a surprise move, the Narendra Modi government approved a Constitution Amendment Bill to provide 10% reservation to economically backward sections in the general category.

The Bill will cover those including Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and other minority community. The decision comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections which will take play in May this year. 
The Government of India has decided that the following people are eligible for the 10% reservations: 
  • People earning less than Rs. 8 lakh per year
  • People who own farm land below 5 acres
  • Those who have a residential house below 1000 sq.ft
  • Those with a residential plot less than 100 yards in notified municipality
  • Those with a residential plot less than 200 yards in non-notified municipality
The Government has introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha today. However, with just two days to wrap up the Winter Session of the Parliament, the Bill may not pass through both the Houses. Additionally, the 10% quota exceeds the Supreme Court’s restrictions on reservations which are limited to 50%. Therefore, this Bill could be challenges legally. 
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties have been calling it an election gimmick as there is not much time to pass the Bill in the current session. The BJP government has take the decision based on its feedback that they are losing their core voter base from the upper castes as the Modi wave is waning across the country.

It is believed that this core voter base has been angry with the current government for lack of education and employment opportunities due to existing reservations for other communities.  
Political analysts say that the BJP is confident that this move could bring it back to power in 2019 as it also has thrown the Opposition in a quandary.

However, they say that a similar move was introduced during  VP Singh’s Prime Ministership in 1990 to accept the Mandal Commission’s

recommendations, which actually brought his government down. Therefore, the Modi government needs to be careful with such a move and should realise that it is treading a dangerous appeasement path that could backfire. 


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