ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Flawed 10% Reservation

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The question over the central government’s provision on reservation for the upper-caste poor is not just about the issue of employment, but also of educational opportunities amidst privatisation and liberalisation. The 10% quota for the upper-caste poor appears hollow in the present employment crisis (“Where Will the 10% Be Employed?”EPW, 12 January 2019). It is yet again a defect in understanding the economically weaker sections amidst privatisation of education and employment opportunities. Nevertheless, the flaws and ambiguity in understanding the economic poor occur at two levels in the bill. First, in the conception of the economic upper-caste poor, reflected in the identification of the poor itself; and second, at the outcome level, through an ambiguous “means” to remove the upper-caste economic backwardness—provision of 10% reservation.

In the flawed identification of the poor, the prescribed annual family income of ₹ 8 lakh per annum—which comes to around ₹ 67,000 per month—is more than 82 times the rural, and 67 times the urban areas’ prescribed daily expenses capacity of ₹ 27.2 (rural) and ₹ 33.3 (urban) for poverty estimation by the Tendulkar Committee. Again, the ambiguity reflected in the prescribed income amount of ₹ 8 lakh per annum, which is 3.2 times more than the prescribed amount of income tax return cap of ₹ 2.5 lakh. In addition, the default in conception
is extended to the other criteria of “possession of agricultural land less than 5 acres” and “possession of a residential flat 1,000 square feet or less.”

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Updated On : 8th Mar, 2019

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