The system of Reservation in India was introduced to uplift the historically disadvantaged sections of Indian society. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Economically Backwards Classes are provided opportunities by providing them reservations in legislatures, Government Jobs, Promotions, educational scholarships. The reservation of the percentage in higher education institutions stands at 49.5%. A similar ratio is followed in Parliament. The percentage of reservation varies in each state. Maharashtra is estimated to have the highest percentage of reservation.
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Who Introduced Reservation in India?
The system of reservation existed in India even before independence. Post-independence the system of reservation was framed by the Constituent Assembly which was chaired by Dr. BR Ambedkar. Initially, it was introduced for a time span of 10 years. Post 10 year period, the legislators of India found the necessity to continue the system of the reservation to overcome many years of societal and cultural discrimination of certain sections of society.
Reservation in India
Reservations were put in place in the Indian constitution, immediately after independence, as a means to recognise the historical injustice meted out to the people belonging to backward groups and to implement provisions by which they would have better access to resources and opportunities.
Reservations in India were introduced:
- To rectify the past and historical injustice against the backward classes in India
- To ensure that equal representation can be seen from people belonging to all castes in the services under the state and centre
- To provide an equal platform for everyone irrespective of their caste
- To promote and advance the backward classes
Reservation Quota in India
Given below is the distribution of reservation quota in India for applicants for Government jobs or Higher Educational Institutions (as of March 2021):
|Reservations in India|
|Other Backward Classes (OBC)||27%|
|Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)||10%|
|Persons with Benchmark Disabilities||4%|
What was the Mandal Commission?
- The Mandal Commission was set up on 1st January 1979 by the Indian Government under the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai
- The chief mandate of the Mandal Commission was to identify the socially or educationally backward classes of India and to consider reservations as a means to address caste inequality and discrimination
- The commission developed 11 criteria to identify the backward classes who were called “Other Backward Classes” or OBCs. The criteria are classified as social, economic and educational
- The Commission was chaired by an MP, B P Mandal and the Commission had submitted its report to the President on 31st December 1980
- In 1990, the then Prime Minister V P Singh announced in the Parliament that the recommendations of the Mandal Commission would be implemented
- The Mandal Commission concluded that India’s population consisted of approximately 52 per cent OBCs, therefore 27% of government jobs should be reserved for them
- In 1992, the SC upheld the 27% reservation for OBCs but also stated that the only caste was not an indicator of social and educational backwardness
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Which are Some of the Laws Formulated for Reservation in India?
Some of the prominent laws framed for reservation policies are listed below.
- Article 15(4) – 1st Amendment,1951 – Special provision for Advancement of Backward Classes.
- Article 15(5) – 93rd Amendment, 2006 – Provision of Reservation for Backward, SC, and ST classes in private educational institutions.
- Article 16(3) – Reservation of posts in public employment on the basis of residence
- Article 16(4) – Reservation in public employment for backward classes.
- Article (330 – 342) – talks about special provisions for certain classes of society
- Article 45 – Under Directive Principles of State Policy, states have a duty to raise the standards of living and health of backward classes.
- Article 39 A – Under Directive Principles of State Policy – states have to ensure justice and free legal aid to Economically Backward Classes.
UPSC aspirants must also refer to the links given below and prepare themselves for the upcoming Civil Services Exam:
Which is the latest Amendment in the Constitution to provide Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections of Society in Educational Institutions?
The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 received the assent of the President of India on 12th January 2019. It provided 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections amongst the earlier unreserved category students.
Multiple Choice Question
Consider the following Statements
- Article 341 of the Constitution of India defines who would be Scheduled Castes with respect to any State or Union Territory.
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is an Indian Constitutional body that was established through the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been set up under Article 338 A.
- As per the 2011 census, among Indian states and Union Territories, Mizoram and Lakshadweep had the highest percentage of its population as Scheduled Tribe (approximately 95%).
- As per Article 46 of the Constitution of India, States will have to promote and protect the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It shall protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from Social Injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Choose the correct answer from the below-given options
A) None of the above statements are false.
B) None of the above statements are true
C) Only statements 1 and 4 are true.
D) Only statements 1 and 3 are true.
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