Madhya Pradesh passes Bill to raise OBC quota to 27%, overall 73%

The Indian Express: July 24, 2019

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a Bill increasing reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from 14 per cent to 27 per cent. The 13 per cent more reservation for OBCs coupled with the 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections in government jobs takes the quantum of reservation in the Congress-ruled state to 73 per cent.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes get 16 and 20 per cent reservation, respectively, in the state.

Cabinet Minister Govind Singh, who holds the general administration portfolio, said the passage of the Madhya Pradesh Lok Seva (Anusuchit Jatiyon, Anusuchit Jan Jatiyon aur Anya Pichhade Vargon ke Liye Arakshan) Amendment Bill, 2019, will ensure that the needy get their due.

Responding to the debate, the minister said the government will try to fill up posts lying vacant for years in the government and corporations. He said the government will study reservation given by some states to the extremely backward castes (EBCs).

The minister’s promise to study EBC reservation came in response to a suggestion by Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava to reserve 7 per cent (out of 27 per cent) posts for EBCs who, he said, suffer while some other castes walk away with all reservation benefits. “There are many families whose 10 members have got government jobs and some have not been able to land a peon’s job,” Bhargava said.

While backing the amendment, Bhargava asked if the government had brought it only to reap political benefits because no government jobs are available. He also asked if the government would extend the reservation to the private sector, because jobs are being created there. “If it (amendment) is not a lollypop, announce how many jobs are you going to create,” the BJP leader said.

By all accounts, OBCs account for more than 50 per cent population in the state. Hence, no party can afford to antagonise them. The BJP never spoke about bringing a Bill to increase OBC reservation to 27 per cent though all its three CMs from 2003 to 2018 belonged to that category. But it was in no position to oppose the Bill on the floor of the Assembly, so after nitpicking the opposition party opted to pass it unanimously. The Bill will go to the governor now. But it will also have to clear a legal challenge because a petition is pending in the High Court.

Many other speakers argued that the population of OBCs in the state was more than 50 per cent and so they deserved more reservation.

Pradeep Patel, BJP MLA from Mauganj in Rewa district, said reservation should be extended to semi-government organisations, private sector, cooperatives and in contractual appointments. “Either outsourcing should stop or reservation should be extended there too, so that all castes benefit from it,” he said.

BJP MLA from Narsinghpur Jalam Singh Patel said the budget should be allocated to OBCs in proportion to their share in the population and reservation be extended to judiciary, including the Supreme Court and high courts.
BJP MLA Mohan Yadav said he would not give the entire credit for the amendment to the Congress government because it took a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who introduced 10 per cent quota for EWS busting the myth that reservation cannot exceed 50 per cent.

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