Who would be the beneficiaries of ‘historic’ quota for General category?

The quota will be applicable to economically backwards among Hindus, Muslims and Christians.

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a landmark bill providing 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections in the General category.

Most of the political parties supported the bill, which was described by the Narendra Modi government as “historic”. As many as 323 members voted in favour of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019, and only three voted against it. The debate in Lok Sabha went on for more than four and a half hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were present in the House when the bill was passed. The government will table the bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Union Cabinet had approved the bill on Monday.

Breaking it down

According to government sources, this 10 % reservation will apply for all communities, and caste is not going to be a criterion for eligibility. The quota will be applicable to economically backwards among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. This means that this new quota won’t affect the reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.

So far, Scheduled castes, who constitute 20 % of the entire population in India, corner 15 % reservation in the government sector. Scheduled Tribes, who constitute 9 % of the population, are provided with 7.5 % reservation while communities in the Other Backward Caste corner the lion’s share of 27 % reservation.

Together, SCs, STs and OBCs, who constitute about 70 % of the population, are provided with 49.5 % reservation in the government sector. It is the rest 30 % or 39 crore, who fall under the general category, which will be eligible to avail the 10 % reservation announced by the Centre.

This category will be defined as families with income (includes agricultural income as well as from profession) below Rs 8 lakh per annum, possessing agricultural land below five acre and residential house below 1,000 square feet. As for urban areas, those with residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality or residential plot below 200 yards in the non-notified municipal area will be considered for reservation.

Maharashtra accounts for maximum OBCs with 261 communities, while Karnataka has the most number of SCs at 101. With 62 different Scheduled Tribe communities, Odisha has the maximum number of STs.

For example, in Madhya Pradesh 87 % of the population belong to SCs (15.51 %), STs (21.1 %) and OBCs (50.39 %). The reservation tally stands at 16 % for SCs, 20 % for STs and 14 % for OBCs. Thus, it is the rest 13 % of the population who will benefit from the Centre’s recent reservation decision.