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Government mulling quota benefits to OBCs in proportion to population

PTI 28 Apr 2016, 21:15:35 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid growing population of SC/STs in the country, government today said it is mulling over providing reservation benefits to backward classes in proportion to their population.

To concerns over losing of SC/ST status due to migration to other states, the Centre said it was up to the state governments to recognise such castes and provide benefits.

The government also said it was making efforts to release the caste census, conducted separately, at the earliest.

“One member demanded for reservation provision in proportion to the population of backward classes. We are thinking on that. If you can create an environment, we can do this,” Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said in the Rajya Sabha while replying to a debate on the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha, seeks to amend the Constitution to include certain castes in the list of Scheduled Sastes (SC) in five states. It was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha.

The bill includes certain castes like Sais, Aheria and Peruvannan, in the SC list of states like Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal.

Earlier while debating the bill, K Somaprasad (CPI-M) had demanded that the government should consider increasing quota benefits in proportion to the growing population of backward classes.

“As per the 2011 census data, the population of SC/STs is 25.2 per cent, while the reservation is 22.5 per cent. So, reservation should be increased in proportion to the population,” he said.

“Reservation benefit is a constitutional right of SC/STs but some are denied of the benefit,” he said and expressed concern that backward classes were not getting SC/ST status after migration because some states do not recognise those castes for reservation benefits.

Not only CPI-M, but members of other parties including BSP, BJD, Congress raised the issue.

To this, the Minister said “if states want to include those castes in the list, they can do so and provide reservation benefits. They have powers to do so.”

As per the Supreme Court verdict, the central government officials, if they move to other states, will continue to get reservation irrespective of the state policy, he said.