Demanding reservation for upper castes, Dalit leader and Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale said that the present reservation of 49.5 percent should be increased to 75 per cent so as to accommodate the economically backward classes from amongst Rajputs, Marathas, Jats, Patels, Gujjars and Brahmins.
Athawale told The Indian Express on Tuesday: “Those earning an annual income of up to Rs 6 lakh from among the forward castes should be given reservation in jobs and education. For this, reservations should be increased by another 25 per cent so that the existing quota for SC, ST and OBC remains unaffected.”
The RPI (A) leader from Maharashtra said that he will soon bring up the issue in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. The issue could be taken up for debate in Parliament and a Constitutional amendment could be moved to bring such a reservation into effect, he said.
Pointing to the example of Tamil Nadu which has 69 percent reservation, Athawale added, “Social justice also means looking after the economically backward. There has been so much agitation among the Jat, Maratha, Patel, Gujjar, Rajput communities. All these as well as Brahmins that fall in the economically backward category must be accommodated in the extra 25 percent quota. After all, the OBC also got their reservation following similar agitations.”
The minister said that Dalits and all other backward castes would have no problem with such a reservation for the poor among the upper castes as long as it is not from their existing quota.
The existing reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs is 15 percent, 7.5 percent and 27 percent respectively. As per census 2011, the population of SCs in the country amounts to 16.6 per cent, STs 8.6 percent and OBCs 52 per cent.