Hyderabad: Chairman of Telangana State Commission for Backward Classes B S Ramulu on Thursday faulted the Centre for reverting the Telangana Backward Classes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in Services Under the State) Bill, 2017.
In a statement issued here, he said the Supreme Court had relaxed its stance on the 50 per cent cap on reservations and allowed an increase in the limit in case quantifiable data was available to justify the increase. The Centre’s action was not in conformity with the true spirit of the directives of the apex court, he said.
He said that the recommendations made by his panel, however, set the tone for a national debate on reservations for BCs. The BC quota hike will be one of the key election issues in 2019. Karnataka is also working on its population figures for quota hike, and Andhra Pradesh has already proposed a hike in BC quota, he pointed out.
Ramulu said the State had sought a hike in quota for BCs basing on the recommendations made by the BC Commission. The Commission’s recommendations were accepted by the State Government as well as the Legislature. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao also had given his nod.
The Commission in its report observed that Telangana had much higher proportion of BCs and weaker sections, particularly under the E category, as they suffered more discrimination and deprivation. It had recommended provision of an additional reservation for Muslims whose population too increased from 9.56 per cent in the undivided State to 12.68 per cent (population of 44.64 lakh) after the formation of Telangana State.
It is the basic responsibility of the Centre to consider the hike in quota for BCs as proposed by the State, he said, emphasising the need for a Constitutional amendment to ensure that the Centre cannot stall quota hike proposed by States. Quota hike would be basing on the composition of castes that varies from State to State. There is absolutely no need for the Centre’s interference in such issues as the quota hike proposed by either the State or Centre need to stand the legal scrutiny of the courts.
According to Ramulu, the recommendations of the Commission have already led to widespread and animated discussion in the Parliament. These recommendations which were approved by the State Assembly and Council have become the foundation for several discussions related to the country’s Constitution and actions that can be taken on this front.
The State BC Commission chairman credited Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for taking forward the issue of reservations to BCs and that the Chief Minister would once again prove all naysayers wrong by achieving the goal of increasing reservations to this group of people in the State.
The Chief Minister proved wrong everyone who said Telangana was not possible. Though everyone says that reservations cannot exceed 50 per cent of the population, we will achieve our goal of extending them up to 70 per cent to 75 per cent of the population, Ramulu said.
The Chief Minister has drawn inspiration from the 1953 Kelkar Commission which recommended that States should be able to decide who the Backward Classes are. It is in this spirit that the Chief Minister had declared that the State will decide on who deserves to get the reservations and achieve the goal of being able to increase the quotas, Ramulu said.