Telangana Assembly passes bill to hike Muslim quota to 12%

The Telangana Assembly 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%.

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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.

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