A question of quota: How to determine who is 'economically weak'

Determining who is 'economically weak' will shape the success of the reservation policy

Ishaan Gera
10% quota

Photo: Shutterstock

Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech became a rallying cry for the world’s oppressed communities demanding equality. More than a decade before that speech, India’s constituent assembly legislated caste-based reservation to lift the historically marginalised. The ambit was expanded in 1992 to cover Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Earlier this week, the Supreme Court upheld another expansion giving a 10 per cent quota to the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the general category.
With the ambit of reservation expanded, computing who qualifies for the benefit has become complicated. A national census could fix the number of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but determining non-creamy layer OBCs is a complex task. Even more daunting is determining who gets the EWS quota.
The government informed the Supreme Court that as per the 2010 Sinho Commission report, 18.2 per cent of the general category

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First Published: Jan 25 2023 | 6:04 PM IST

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