Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government Monday decided to amend the Constitution to provide for 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in direct recruitment in government services and admission to higher educational institutions, highly placed sources confirmed. In fact, the government is aiming to introduce the legislation Tuesday on the last day of the current leg of the winter session of Parliament.
Though similar suggestions have been made by political leaders like Mayawati and Ramdas Athavale in the past, this is the first substantial move to take legislative route to provide for this change. An attempt to provide for 10 per cent reservation to poor or economically backward among other sections during the Narasimha Rao government’s tenure to offset political backlash against the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations was nullified by the Supreme Court in the early 90s.
“Narasimha Rao government’s attempt was thrown out as it violated the basic structure of 50 per cent ceiling,” confided a highly placed source revealing that “this time this basic structure is changed to provide for reservation up to 60 per cent”.
“Additionally, a new criterion of economically weaker section as eligible for reservation will be provided for through the Constitution Amendment,” confided the source to stress how the Government move is conscious of keeping its legislative move immune from legal challenges. The move will require amending Article 16 of the Constitution to provide for reservation for economically weaker sections.