Hyderabad: Retaining local quota in education and public employment by continuing Article 371D in both Telangana state and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh will have nation-wide ramifications and could create unrest in other states, particularly those in the Hindi heartland.
Highly-placed sources told this newspaper that the Group of Ministers on Telangana has come across a piquant situation wherein repeal of Article 371D will spell doom for Telangana state as people from Andhra Pradesh will become eligible to compete for 100 per cent seats in professional courses and universities, as well as government jobs.
A similar facility is of course available for people of Telangana in the residuary state but their numbers will be much less than the migration from the residuary state.
At the same time, if Article 371D is continued it will not only be put to legal scrutiny but also create unrest among other states, particularly the Hindi heartland states which too may press for local quota for each state.
Sources said the GoM is considering retaining Article 371D in an amended form for a short period to convince other states not to press for local quota.
Even in such case, people of Telangana will lose out in the long term. A high-level Central official team has been holding discussions on this matter with state bureaucrats, both in service and retired, who have expertise in service matters particularly in implementing 610 GO.
Article 16 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them.
“The Centre under special circumstances (merger of two states) brought out 371D for the state and introduced local quota. Now with the demerger, the special circumstances will no longer be there,” said a senior official privy to the GoM deliberations.
According to the official, the two states cannot even follow the model of other southern states and non-Hindi speaking states in the north, which ensure jobs to locals over-coming Article 16 with the help of “language” which is not in the list of prohibited factors in Article 16.
These states insist that the candidate must have studied the native language as first language at SSC level to become eligible for employment. “In case of AP and Telangana the candidate’s first language will be Telugu,” the official said.
But two states with the same language having special status will lead to similar demand from several northern states where there is no local quota, openly or clandestinely, because Hindi is the first language for all these states and inter-state mobility for employment is very high. Each Hindi speaking state can also demand local quota, the GoM was told.
Telangana employees’ leader, C. Vithal maintained that the Centre should continue the local quota for Telangana and may consider a similar demand if made by other states.