The Lok Sabha (323-3 margin) and Rajya Sabha (165-7 margin) have cleared a landmark Bill to be brought in Parliament, seeking to provide 10% reservation in Government higher education institutions and Government jobs to the economically backward among the ‘General Category’. For the first time, a quota in jobs and educational institutions, on the basis of economic deprivation in lieu of socio-cultural-educational deprivation, has been legislated Centrally, bringing in 10% quota for economically deprived, non-reserved category Indian citizens, making it open to the Parsi Community. With the parliamentary process complete, the law can now be notified by the President, subject to judicial scrutiny.
The Bill refers to essentially the upper castes or so-called ‘forwards’, as it addresses the grievances of Brahmins, Baniyas, Patels, Marathas, Gujjars, Thakurs as also minority Communities including our Zoroastrian Community for the first time ever. Not applicable to Dalits, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Tribals, the Bill is said to be a broad-based reservation policy for having created more equality for less privileged unreserved citizens. It will not upset the lower castes and tribals, as their 49.5% reservations remain intact.
Who qualifies for the proposed quota? As it is targeted at economically weaker sections among the upper castes, General Category individuals, whose family collectively earns less than Rs. 8 lakh per annum, and who have less than five acres of agricultural land, qualify. Individuals whose families own or possess more agricultural land, or residential flats of area 1,000 sq ft or more, or a residential plot of area 100 yards or more in notified municipalities and 200 yards or more in areas other than notified municipalities, will not qualify.