The Telangana government Friday night issued an order to increase reservation for the Scheduled Tribe communities from 6 per cent to 10 per cent. The order by the Tribal Welfare Department said the enhanced reservations would apply in educational institutions and to services under the state government with immediate effect.
The Telangana Assembly passed a Bill in April 2017 enhancing the reservation of the ST population to 10 per cent. Though the Bill was sent to the Government of India for the President’s assent the same year, after six years, it is still pending despite several representations from the state government. Hence, the state government Friday ordered the enhancement of reservations to be brought to force with immediate effect, the order said.
With the latest order, reservations for various sections in the state have gone up to 54 per cent. While addressing a public meeting on the occasion of Telangana National Integration Day, Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced to increase the ST quota to 10 per cent.
Earlier, a state-appointed Commission of Inquiry, under retired bureaucrat A Chellappa, to study and prepare a comprehensive report on the increase in ST population in the state and their socio-economic conditions, had conducted public hearings and interacted with people from various walks of life.
The elaborate report with recommendations, according to Friday’s order, underlined the considerable rise in the ST population in the state as compared to 1986 when a 6 per cent reservation was announced.
The commission also observed that disproportionately low reservation benefits for scheduled tribes in the fields of employment in government services and admissions in educational institutions have been a major factor contributing to the lack of access to various rights guarantees and the Constitution of India. It said the isolation of tribes apart from linguistic and cultural barriers is found contributory to a literacy gap of 17 per cent and a higher dropout rate among tribals and resultant social backwardness.
It also recalled that the Government of Tamil Nadu has been extending reservations to the tune of 69 per cent for the last 28 years as the Union government has included it in the 9th schedule of the Constitution of India.
Further, the order cited the Supreme Court judgment in the Indira Sawhney vs Union of India case and said that the relaxation of the strict rule of 50 per cent ceiling is permissible under certain circumstances, which the findings of the Commission have clearly established.