Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Government on Monday decided to grant 10 per cent reservation in education and government jobs to economically-weaker sections of upper castes across religions.
The decision taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, surpasses the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court.
“A proposal for 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker upper caste was approved by the Union cabinet today,” government sources said.
For implementation of the decision, the Constitution will have to be amended as the Supreme Court had in 1992 put a ceiling of 50 per cent on caste-based reservation.
The immensely significant decision, based on the economic criteria rather than social or religion basis, comes just months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
It will benefit upper castes of not only Hindus but also Muslims and Christians, a government source said.
The criteria for availing of the benefits include annual family income of up to Rs 8 lakh and agriculture land up to 5 acre, the source added.
Among the Hindus, the castes which would benefit from the decision include Brahmin, Banya, Bhaiyya, Thakur’s and Kayasthas, the source said.
Welcoming the decision, BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj told agencies that the 50 per cent bar on quota is not a Constitutional binding and reservation can be provided even up to 70 per cent.
In this context, he cited the example of Tamil Nadu, the state has reservation of up to 69 per cent.