Jobs and education: Telangana may hike reservations for STs, Muslims to 10%
To sidestep the 50% ceiling on reservations prescribed by the Supreme Court, the Telangana government will constitute the legislation on the lines of a bill formulated by Tamil Nadu in 1994 to take its overall SC,ST and OBC quota to 69%.telangana Updated: Apr 13, 2017 09:21 IST
The Telangana cabinet on Wednesday decided in principle to increase the percentage of reservations for Muslims and Scheduled Tribe (ST) members at educational institutions and workplaces across the state.
Though the quantum of the hike has not been finalised, official sources indicated that reservations for both Muslims and STs were likely to go up to 10% from the existing 4% and 6% respectively.
“The cabinet accepted the reports of the Chellappa Committee and Sudhir Committee on enhancement of reservations for STs and Muslims respectively. A group of ministers will examine these reports and submit recommendations by April 15. The cabinet will then meet again to take a final decision on the quantum of enhancement in reservations. A bill will be introduced to this effect in the special session of the state assembly, beginning April 16,” Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao told mediapersons at a briefing after the cabinet meeting.
Recalling how he had promised 12% reservations for Muslims and STs during the Telangana agitation as well as the 2014 polls, Rao said: “Accordingly, we constituted two official committees to study the socio-economic conditions of Muslims and STs.”
However, the chief minister said he was not providing reservations to Muslims in the name of religion – as alleged by certain political parties. “The poorer sections of the Muslim community have already been getting 4% reservations under category E of the OBC. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the percentage of Muslims in the Telangana population has gone up. As 90% of them are poor and socially backward, we have decided to increase the quota – treating them as OBC,” he clarified.
Rao said this move would result in the state’s total reservation count exceeding the 50% ceiling prescribed by the Supreme Court through the Indira Sawhney case – the verdict for which was pronounced in November 1992. However, to sidestep this hurdle, the Telangana government would constitute the legislation on the lines of a bill formulated by Tamil Nadu in 1994 to take its overall SC,ST and OBC quota to 69%. The J Jayalalithaa-headed AIADMK government had then included it in the 9th schedule of the Constitution through the 76th amendment.
The bill, however, is subject to judicial scrutiny by the Supreme Court.
Rao said the Supreme Court has allowed some states to break the 50% ceiling on reservations under special circumstances, such as the increase in ST quota. “While Tamil Nadu has 69% reservations, Jharkhand has 60% and Maharashtra has 52%. In states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, STs enjoy 80% reservations. Even the Gujarat government recently decided to increase its reservation quota to 68% for accommodating Gujjars and Jats,” he added.