Hyderabad: The Telangana state government continues to keep up the suspense over the quantum of the quota hike it proposes for Muslims and STs. The state Cabinet approved the increase in quota on Wednesday and decided to convene a special session of the State Legislature on April 16 to pass the quota bills.
Addressing a press conference after the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said the quantum of hike will be decided in the next cabinet meeting on April 15.
Mr Rao said that the TRS had promised to increase the quota to 12 per cent for Muslims and STs in its 2014 election manifesto and it was the responsibility of the TRS government to implement the same now.
The state Cabinet approved the increase in quota on Wednesday and decided to convene a special session of the State Legislature on April 16 to pass the quota bills.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said the Sudheer Commission and Chelleppa Commission had submitted reports to the government recommending an increase in the quota, which was subsequently referred to the BC Commission, which too endorsed the quota hike. But he refused to disclose how much of an increase these commissions had recommended.
He expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would allow the enhanced quota in TS against the backdrop of the Chief Justice’s recent remark that election manifestos should not become waste paper and parties should be held accountable for their poll promises.
He said that the existing reservations for BCs too will be increased after the BC Commission submits its report within seven months.
He said Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and North Eastern States, besides the BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra and Rajasthan, were already implementing or seeking reservations above the Supreme Court's prescribed limit of 50 per cent overall.
Mr Rao threatened to take the agitation further, including moving the Supreme Court, if the Centre rejects TS quotas, since there cannot be different benchmarks for different states.
He said AP and TS were implementing four per cent quota for Muslims and the TRS government was only increasing that and not creating a new quota.
Mr Rao denied giving ‘religion-based reservations’ and said quotas are being given based on social, economic and educational backwardness of Muslims.
“These reservations should not be viewed as giving to Muslims, but as being given to sections covered under BC-E category. About 90 per cent of TS’ population comprises BCs, SCs, STs and Minorities. The 50 per cent overall quota limit cannot be implemented in all the states uniformly as each state has its own social composition. For this reason, I demand the Centre give flexibility to states to decide their own quota,” Mr Rao said.
“Prior to the Mandal Commission in 1992, several states implemented quotas above 50 per cent. But after 1992, following cases over Mandal Commission developments, the Supreme Court prescribed 50 per cent limit, but it also noted then that if any state can establish justifiable, impeccable backwardness data of various communities, they can implement above 50 per cent quota. Since all the commissions appointed by us have established all these factors, we can claim above 50 per cent quota,” Mr Rao said.