Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has called for a special Assembly session on Sunday where a Bill is set to be introduced for increasing the reservation for minority Muslims and scheduled tribes in educational institutions and at workplaces. Here is all you need to know about the quota hike situation in Telangana:
The government of Telangana wants to hike the quota for Muslims and scheduled tribes which was a poll promise of KCR’s party Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). At present, Muslims have a 4 per cent quota under the OBC category while STs have 6 per cent quota. The bill seeks to increase the quota for Muslims to 12 per cent and for STs to 10 per cent.
Apart from the BJP, which has five MLAs in the 119-member Telangana Assembly, there is near unanimity in the House over the issue with the TRS backing the Bill with its 90 MLAs. BJP has, meanwhile, maintained its adverse stand against the proposed move which it termed as minority appeasement. It is most likely that the Bill will be passed when the motion is called as the numbers are in TRS’ favour.
The increase in quota would mean that it will exceed the 50 per cent limit in reservations set by the Supreme Court. However, KCR cited Tamil Nadu as an example to counter the argument against such move. Tamil Nadu has 69 per cent reservation in place after it was added to the ninth schedule . However, the case is pending before a nine-member Supreme Court constitution bench.
Hence, KCR has marketed his Bill to hike reservations as a move based on economic criteria claiming that it has nothing to do with religion or caste. In July 2004, then CM of Andhra Pradesh YS Rajasekhara Reddy granted 5 per cent quota to Muslims under OBC category, classifying the Muslim community, as a whole, of being a backward class. His government, nonetheless, had to bring it down to 4 per cent so that the 50 per cent mark was not breached.
According to KCR, after Telangana was carved out from Andhra Pradesh, the Muslim population in Telangana region increased from 9 per cent to over 12 per cent. Therefore, his party and government are now intent on increasing the quota for Muslims. Hyderabad MP and AIMIM chief Asadudding Owaisi, whose party holds seven seats in the Assembly, had recently expressed reservations fearing that if someone takes the matter to court, the existing 4 per cent reservation may also be put in jeopardy.
Politically, the takeaway for TRS is an increased support from the Muslim community The Sudhir Commission which was set up to take stock of the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims observed in its report that in Telangana, following the general trend across India, the proportion of Muslim employees had fallen.
The commission’s report observed that Muslim employees were just 7.36 per cent of the total workforce in the state. While the quota may not be the surefire medicine to the issue, it seems to be the immediate cure the government is looking for. It does, on the other hand, take away the focus from quality.
Meanwhile, rivals Telugu Desam Party had pushed for a larger quota ( 52 per cent) for the backward classes, up from the current 25 per cent. That is proportionate to the 52 per cent population of backward classes in the state. In case the government passes the bill and the TDP has its way, a whopping 89 per cent seats will be reserved in Telangana for educational institutions and jobs.