India: Pre-poll sops: Centre & states offer quotas to appease all

  • With the 2019 elections round the corner, reservation has taken the centre stage as central and state governments try their best to reap political dividend by doling out quotas to electorally strong communities.
  • In Jan 19, the Centre announced a 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS). Pitched as a quota for poor upper castes, the BJP expects to consolidate its core upper caste voters in the Hindi heartland. State governments too have come forward to grant reservation to specific communities.
  • On 13 Feb 19, the Rajasthan government introduced the Rajasthan Backward Classes Amendment Bill, 2019, to give reservation to Gurjars and four other castes. The Bill, which provides for 5% reservation above the OBC quota of 21%, was passed unanimously in the Assembly.
  • The state has requested the Centre to put the bill under the Ninth Schedule, which would make it out of judicial purview. Gurjars form 6% of Rajasthan’s population and hold sway over 5-6 Lok Sabha seats.
  • Subsequently, the Congress government in Rajasthan has notified 10% reservation for economically weaker sections in government jobs. Though the state government has made changes in service rules, there has been no notification for 10% quota in educational institutions.
  • Rajasthan is the first Congress-ruled state which has moved on the 10% reservation following Modi government’s move. So far, other Congress-ruled states including Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have maintained they are studying the issue.
  • Madhya Pradesh is unlikely to implement 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) soon as the Congress government in the state has decided to set up a committee to “study the matter” first, without specifying a time frame for the task.
  • After the Centre announced the EWS reservation, the Andhra government decided that it will give only 5% of the 10% to the EWS quota. The rest 5% would be given to upper caste Kapus. Before the 2014 LS election, TDP had promised to include Kapus under the backward category and give them 5% reservation. Kapus constitute 27% of the population.
  • In Dec 17, the Andhra government announced 5% reservation for Kapus but the bill got stuck at the Centre since it required an Amendment under the 9th Schedule.
  • In J&K, governor Satyapal Malik gave his nod to the J&K Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2014, on 24 Jan 19 providing reservation to Paharis, who constitute 20% of the population and are scattered in Punch and Rajouri belts of Jammu and Baramula and Kupwara belts of Kashmir. The community had been demanding ST status.
  • In Nov 18, accepting the demands of Maratha community, the Maharashtra government announced a 16% reservation for them. The BJP-Shiv Sena government, which got sizeable votes of the community during the 2014 LS and assembly elections, was bound to offer reservation to them.
  • The Marathas comprise 30% of the population and can swing votes. The earlier Congress-NCP government had also made attempts to woo Marathas. Now, with 10% EWS reservation, total reservation in Maharashtra has gone up to 78%.

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/pre-poll-sops-centre-states-offer-quotas-to-appease-all/articleshow/68074498.cms

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/rajasthan-reserves-10-government-jobs-for-economically-weaker-sections/articleshow/68089928.cms

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/madhya-pradesh-to-set-up-panel-to-study-ews-quota/articleshow/68089453.cms

20-Feb-2019


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