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EWS Reservation is the most secular action of any Government

   Reservation for economically weaker sections is a game changer in reservation concept. In independent India, it is first time reservation is applicable irrespective of religion and caste. It is the demand of aspiration class i.e. millennial generation. This new generation class irrespective of their birth identity want reservation depending on economic criteria. In the given circumstances, it is not feasible to implement reservation purely on economic criteria. The social inequality still exists in the society and there is every reason to continue reservations on social and educational backwardness. At the same time, we can not ignore the views of new aspiration class.

   Added to the above, there is one more issue which deserves attention. In post independent India, the economic conditions of Muslims are deteriorated which was substantiated by reports of several committees. Though certain sections of them were covered under OBC quota by some State Governments, it is not the case with Central Government and many State Governments. First time in the history, Muslims  irrespective of their birth background brought under reservation through economically weaker section category. The irony is that Modi being branded as anti-Muslim brought them under reservation category which no secular and liberal earlier Governments brought it. This EWS concept brought Muslims, Hindus and Christians along with other religious minorities under one umbrella and united all of them which is unparallel and unique. This is the most secular action of any Government in the independent Indian history.

  However, there are certain flaws in the economic criteria. The eligibility criteria of Rs 8 lakhs is going to be counter productive. Almost all the people will come under the bracket which serves no meaning and purpose. Of course, Government may argue that it is already in existence for OBC category. It is true that the creamy layer concept is changed from time to time and latest enhancement of Rs 8 lakhs was done in the year 2017 by NDA Government under the pressure of OBC lobby. This itself is very bad decision. There is strong lobby working in OBC to remove creamy layer concept and the present action can be viewed from this angle. In fact, time has come to bring creamy layer concept to SC/ST category also. This may not palatable to liberal intellectuals but the facts and very social justice concept support this argument.

  Along with caste discrimination, rural disadvantage has become important injustice in our country. Even in SC category, now a days, the reservation benefit is being swallowed by urban residents at the cost of rural citizens. Already, there is a strong demand for categorisation within the SC category. But no one is taking up the case of rural people. Unfortunately, the debate in these matters is not taking place on the basis of merit. But time has come to discuss and debate the concept for improvement and to see that most deserved will get the benefit out of it. In case of STs, data is to be studied further as even the existing vacancies are not filled up.In this background, the present economic ceiling of Rs 8 lakhs will naturally corner the reservations by urban elite though 60% of population still resides in rural areas. Particularly, in open category, this 10% will be totally cornered by urban people only if economic criteria is not reduced from Rs 8 lakhs. There is no need to reduce the land criteria as it will compensate the rural disadvantage. If there is will, there is a way out even now. The Constitutional amendment is once more is difficult in the present circumstances. The only way out is administrative action.The eight lakhs income criteria is upper limit only and it is enabling provision in the constitution. Now Government may bring a bill in the coming Budget session for implementation of this 10% EWS reservation. At that time, the bill may propose lesser income criteria which is possible as the limit is within the 8 lakhs. This way it can be implemented without amending the constitution. The political leadership must take this bold step to extend the benefit to the really deserved people under economic criteria. Also the reduced economic criteria can be thought of for OBC and extention of creamy layer concept to SC. Then only, the reservation will be benefited to the most deserved.  

   One more important aspect to be considered is reservation to the inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. Dr Ambedkar wanted that caste system should be abolished. In pursuance of this objective, there should be encouragement to the inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. It can be possible by allotting certain quota of reservation to this category. This aspect may be debated further how it can be implemented.

   Finally, it can be concluded that the concept of reservation on economic criteria is revolutionary concept, bold step, strengthens secularism and leads to integrity of society. This can be effectively implemented by reducing the economic criteria, otherwise the very purpose of it will be defeated.   

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