Hyderabad, April 12 (IANS) A special session of Telangana Assembly will be held on April 16 to pass a legislation to increase quota for Muslims and tribals, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced on Wednesday.
He said the percentage of enhanced quota will be decided by the state Cabinet at a meeting on April 15.
After passing the bill, which will take the overall reservation quota in the state beyond the prescribed limit of 50 percent, it will be sent to the Union government for President’s assent.
He said if the central government refused to include the legislation in Constitution’s 9th Schedule as was done in the case of Tamil Nadu, Telangana would approach the Supreme Court.
Defending the proposed move, he said it was the responsibility of his government to increase the overall quantum of reservation in line with the social composition of the newly-created Telangana.
Rao was addressing a news conference after the meeting of state cabinet, which accepted report of State Backward Classes Commission on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims and report of another panel to increase quota for tribals.
He said that his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was taking the step to implement its poll promise to increase quota for Muslims and Scheduled Tribes to 12 percent each.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, pointed out that the socially and economically backward sections among Muslims are already enjoying 5 percent reservation in jobs and education.
The Chief Minister said Telangana’s legislation would be on the lines of the law passed by Tamil Nadu and included in 9th Schedule.
He announced that his government will also increase the quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs) by one percent. The SCs currently enjoy 15 percent reservation while they constitute 16.3 percent of the state’s population.
KCR said there was also a need to increase quota for backward classes. The cabinet has asked BC Commission to submit a report in six to seven months after a thorough study of the socio-economic conditions of BCs.
He contended that with 90 percent of Telangana state’s population constituting backward classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities, 50 percent ceiling on reservation will not work for the state.
He referred to the Supreme Court judgment in Indira Sawhney case that total reservation can exceed 50 percent provided a case is made out with quantifiable and impeccable data.
Citing the examples of states implementing more than 50 percent reservation, he remarked that law has to be equal for all states.
The total quantum of reservation in Tamil Nadu is 69 percent, Aharkhand 60 percent, Maharashtra 52 percent and as high as 80 percent in Arunchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, he averred.
KCR reminded the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been opposing the move, that following the protest by Gujjars and Jats, its government in Rajasthan increased total quantum of reservation to 68 percent and sent the legislation to the Centre for President’s assent.
In an obvious reference to strong opposition to the move from BJP, KCR reiterated that the reservation was not based on religion but on socio-economic backwardness of Muslims.
He pointed out that states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and Manipur were already providing reservation to some backward groups among the minorities.
Stating that his government is extending cooperation to the Centre as and when required, KCR hoped that Narendra Modi government will accept the state’s request. “Otherwise, we are ready for a fight as long as it takes,” he added.
The TRS chief also demanded that the Centre transfer the subject of reservation to states as the states will have better understanding of their social composition and will be able to take necessary steps to ensure social justice.