The Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal on Tuesday approved 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in government jobs and educational institutions.
The state government’s decision comes six months after the BJP government at the Centre brought in a law to provide 10 per cent EWS quota by amending the Constitution.
“It’s a historic decision. There are many factors to define someone who belongs to the economically weaker section. These details will be mentioned in the government order that will be issued soon,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters.
“The existing reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs will stay as they were. This new quota is for those outside these categories,” Backward Classes Welfare Minister Rajib Banerjee said.
At present, West Bengal provides 45 per cent reservation — Scheduled Castes (22%), Scheduled Tribes (6%) and Other Backward Classes (17%).
After the Central government announced the 10 per cent EWS quota, BJP-ruled states were the first to adopt it. Last month, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh also gave nod to it.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties welcomed the state government’s move, but expressed concerns over its implementation.
“We are happy with the decision, but we have concerns over the process of the identification of the beneficiaries. We want a foolproof system to ensure that only deserving people are identified as beneficiaries,” senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Abdul Mannan, said.
Left Front Legislature Party leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “So far, this was not implemented here, while it was adopted across the country. The state government must immediately start identifying people who will fall under this category. There should not be any discrepancies in the identification process.”
BJP leader Manoj Tigga said, “While it is good to see that the state is following the Centre’s footsteps, we have concerns whether corruption will take over the process of identifying the beneficiaries.”
The state government’s decision comes a day after the Supreme Court agreed to hear petitions challenging the constitutional amendment of providing 10 per cent EWS quota.