Telangana

Telangana Assembly passes bill to hike Muslim quota to 12%

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao moved the bill to raise the quota for the socially and economically backward among the Muslims under the Backward Classes (E) category from the existing 4% to 12%.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The Telangana Legislature on Sunday passed the Bill enhancing the reservations for Muslims and Scheduled Tribes (ST) to 12% and 10% respectively for admission into educational institutions and for the State services.

By doing so, the government has fulfilled one of the major assurances given by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in the run up to the previous elections.

Currently, reservations for Muslims is at 4%, while for Scheduled Tribes, it is at 6%.

The Bill, termed as historical by the ruling TRS and the MIM, received support from the Congress and the CPI (Marxist) even as the BJP opposed the Bill claiming that reservation on the basis of religion was against the constitutional norms. Five BJP members were suspended from the House when they tried to obstruct the proceedings by raising slogans and displaying placards after they were not allowed to speak.

Piloting the Bill, the Chief Minister said the Bill was proposed to address concerns expressed over the inclusive development of marginalised population as the proportion of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities — especially Muslims — had increased post bifurcation. This was mainly on account of higher concentration of these communities in the new State when compared to Rayalaseema and Andhra regions of the erstwhile united State.

The population of the STs, for instance, increased to 9.08% post bifurcation as compared to 7.11% in the undivided State. The share of Muslim population too increased from 9.56% in the united State to 12.68% (population of 44.64 lakh) after the formation of Telangana. The Government had constituted commissions of inquiry headed by retired IAS officers G. Sudhir and S. Chellappa to examine the special measures including enhancement of reservation for socially and educationally backward classes/communities as also for SCs and STs for uplifting them from backwardness.

The Commission had observed that Telangana had much higher proportion of BCs/weaker sections, particularly under the E category and revealed that they suffered more discrimination and deprivation. It had recommended provision of an additional 6% reservation for the BC (E) group. Mr. Chellappa’s commission which studied the situation of the STs extensively recommended enhancement of reservation for tribes from 6% to 9.08%.

The Chief Minister said the Government was working out modalities for enhancing the quota for SCs and backward classes too and a study had already been commissioned in this regard. Modalities for enhancing quota for these sections would be announced soon after the receipt of recommendations on the condition of these sections and the Government had fixed a timeline of six months for the completion of the entire process, Mr. Rao said.

IANS adds...

After the state legislative council passes it by late Sunday evening, the Bill will be sent for the President’s assent with a request to include it in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution as was done in the case of Tamil Nadu.

Replying to debate on the bill, Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao said if the Centre refuses to accept Telengana’s request, the state would approach the Supreme Court.

Mr. Rao said, “Tamil Nadu is implementing 69% reservations for over two decades. Five to six states are providing more than 50% reservation. How can you deny this to Telangana?”

The Supreme Court has put a cap of 50% on all reservations both at the Centre and in the states.

The Chief Minister clarified that the reservations were being provided purely on the basis of socio-economic backwardness and not on the basis of religion or caste as some parties were project before the people.

Terming it as a historic day, Mr. Rao said the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had during the election campaigns promised that quota for the Backward Classes (E) and the Scheduled Tribes will be increased in proportion to their population in the state.

He assured the Backward Classes that there will be no injustice to them because of increase in quota for the BC (E) and announced that the quota for the BCs too will be increased. The State government has directed the Backward Classes Commission to submit a report within six months.

Mr. Rao also said that the reservation for the SCs, who constitute 16.3% of the state’s population, will be increased by 1%. He said the government would soon constitute an SC Commission.

The SCs are currently enjoying 15% reservations while the BCs have a total quota of 25%.

The legislation will increase the total reservations in the State to 62%.

The Chief Minister argued that there is no constitutional bar on providing more than 50% reservation.

Mr. Rao said with 90% of Telangana’s population comprising the Backward Classes, SCs, STs and minorities, the State definitely needed more than 50% reservation, and pointed out that states like Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand were already providing more than 50% quota.

The Telangana Chief Minister made it clear that he will not beg the Centre but will fight to get the new quotas included in the 9th Schedule.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, said Telangana would raise this issue at the meeting of the Niti Aayog and in Parliament. He hoped that a debate on the issue will begin and consensus will build at the national level.

He defended the State’s hike in quota for Muslims and hit back at the BJP for opposing it.

“Why can’t we give them reservation? Why should they be denied reservation just because they are Muslims? Are they not part of this country,” asked Mr. Rao in the absence of all five members of the BJP, who were earlier suspended for the day by the Speaker for disrupting the proceedings.

He pointed out that India has the largest Muslim community in the world and even some of the so-called Islamic countries do not have such a large Muslim population.

KCR said the promise to increase the Muslim quota was part of the TRS manifesto and people approved this agenda by giving their mandate to the party.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) suggested that the government take steps to protect the existing 4% reservation while increasing the quota by 8%. Its member Ahmed Pasha Khadri said a new category BC (F) be created for hiked quota.

The Chief Minister, however, said there was no need for any apprehensions as there will be no threat to the existing four 4% reservations.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:49:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/telangana-assembly-passes-bill-to-hike-muslim-quota-to-12/article18071406.ece

Next Story