10% Reservation for Economically Backward Section: Full on or Fooling on?

Author is Editor of Eastern Crescent and Director of MMERC, Mumbai

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The Rajya Sabha is full to fool the voters in 2019 general election till at 10 pm on 9 January today.

The upper caste reservation Bill is passed in the upper house of parliament too through a Constitutional Ammendment Bill which requires 2/3 majority. The Bill is passed by 165 Ayes and 7 Noes. I am a general category member but little confused, as what to celebrate, should I celebrate it at all or introspect as what is actually going on here in India.

I have a few simple a questions. That a citizen of India is, for instance, from ST, SC or OBC class who avails reservation as per his or her caste but his or her yearly income is supposedly 2 lakhs only. Now assume there are 100 job vacancies at a Govt undertaking. 27 reserved for OBC, 16 for SC, 7 for ST and 10 for EBS (Economically Backward Section), the new one, total reservation stands 60 seats and 40 remains open for all.

Let’s assume again that an OBC, SC and ST candidate could not make it to come into reserved categories due to big number of candidates from those reserved classes for these 100 jobs. Can the remaining OBC, SC and ST candidates also obtain benefit of 10% EBS reservation because they too fall under the definition of poor (less than 8 lakh annual income or less than 5 acres land owned)?

According to my understanding of the new Bill the answer is No. So why? An OBC, SC and ST with 2 lakhs income is not a poor but an upper caste member with 8 lakhs income is a poor! If the 10% cap is reserved for economically backward section (EBS) then why there is a discrimination while identifying the EBS among Indian citizens?

Why only 10% reservation for EBS whereas, the number of EBS is 98% in India. Does it mean, out of 100 seats we kept 40 seats open for 2% upper caste people, who are already rich, and remaining 60 seats will be contested by 98% citizens, who are from lower caste and poor?

Of course, I understand that all citizens can contest for those unreserved 40 seats, then why not the OBCs, STs and SCs can contest for 10 EBS reserved seats too when they fall within the definition of EBS?

Let’s enjoy and ride for election to bring more achche din at doorsteps!

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