Gujarat gives 10 percent quota after new law, may postpone exams for Civil Services

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move of quota for the economically weak has made a debut in his home state of Gujarat. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani posted a tweet on Sunday saying that the state is the first to make a provision of 10 percent reservation for the sections that are economically weak in the general category in government jobs and educational institutions.

“Happy to state that the Government Of Gujarat has decided to implement 10% EWS reservation benefits from 14th January,” he tweeted.

As per the officials, the preliminary exams for the Gujarat Public Service Commission may be postponed. The quota will not apply for admissions and jobs in which the process started before today and exams have been held.

The quota that was introduced as a constitution amendment bill and is over and above the 50 percent cap on reservations of the Supreme Court, became law last week after it got passed in both the houses of the parliament. The move is being viewed as the ruling BJP’s big ticket offering to the voters from the upper caste who seem to be disenchanted with the party ahead of the national elections that are due in the month of May.

It provides for the quota of education and job for the ones who earn less than Rs. 8 lakh annually and do not have more than five acres of land.

It was in the year 2016 that the BJP government of Gujarat had announced a similar 10 percent of reservation for the economically weaker sections in the upper castes so as to appease the Patidars who had launched a violent agitation for quota.

A special ordinance issued by the BJP government in the state was scrapped by the Gujarat High Court, which stated that the constitution does not permit quota on the economic basis. The High Court order was later held by the top court, which, however also stopped the government from enacting the ordinance.

In the year 1993, the top court had ruled that a state cannot provide more than 50 percent reservation, and the reservation could only be permitted on the “grounds of social and educational backwardness and not poverty per se.”

The new quota of the centre has been challenged by the organization Youth For Equality in the Supreme Court, which contests that the economic criterion cannot be the only basis for reservation and that the quota violates the ceiling of the top court.

The Gujarat Congress has condemned the state government stating the “hurriedly made announcement” will invoke chaos.

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