Cabinet approves 10% quota for economically weaker sections in general category.


• Modi Cabinet approves 10 per cent reservation for economically backward among general categories.

• Govt may bring a Constitutional amendment to introduce the change.

• The move is being seen as a step to consolidate the upper castes.

In a landmark move just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government ha s decided to give ten per cent reservation in jobs and higher education for economically backward persons in the general category.

This was approved by the Union Cabinet today . The reservation will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation and the government will amend Articles 15 and 16 - which are on discrimination and equal opportunity - of the Constitution to implement it, reports said.

"The reservation will be given to those economically backward poor people who are not availing the benefit of reservation as of now," news wire agency PTI quoted its sources as saying.

TOI reported that those in the general category whose family income is below Rs 8 lakhs per annum and own less than 5 acres of land would be eligible. Further, the person's residential house should be below 1000 sq ft, and the residential plot should be below 100 yards in a notified municipality area and below 200 yards in a non-notified municipality area. (Source: The Economic Times)


Unlike the reservation for SC/ST/OBCs, caste is not going to be a criterion for eligibility to the reservation under this new provision. In fact, sources revealed that the government’s move plan to delineate the economically weaker section (EWS) for avoiding confusion.

The move comes in the backdrop of upper caste backlash against Modi government’s move against the Supreme Court’s attempt at ring-fencing apprehensions of misuse of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Supreme Court move had sparked nation-wide protests from Dalit groups across the country after which Modi government brought legislation and nullified the SC measure through Parliament in the last monsoon session.

The upper caste communities, in turn, voiced their protest over Government’s alacrity in addressing the concerns of Dalit communities of the issue. Senior BJP leaders, in this context, expressed that the BJP faced hostile Upper Castes in the recently concluded assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Though similar suggestions have been made by political leaders like Mayawatiand Ramdas Athavale in the past, this is the first substantial move to take legislative route to provide for this change. An attempt to provide for 10 per cent reservation to poor or economically backward among other sections during the Narasimha Rao government’s tenure to offset political backlash against the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations was nullified by the Supreme Court in the early 90s.

“Narasimha Rao government’s attempt was thrown out as it violated the basic structure of 50 per cent ceiling,” confided a highly placed source revealing that “this time this basic structure is changed to provide for reservation up to 60 per cent”.

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