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In the scenario of politics, a strong question surfaced as when did Telangana last see an agitation for better education and healthcare, unlike, say, the recent wave of protests over quota?

As Election fever is in the air and picking up. The Telangana government is all set to issue a GO notifying 10 percent quota for tribals in education and employment. CM KCR challenged the Centre to welcome the Telangana move for the quota wishes, or else, it would become a noose for Modi.

The state government had passed a resolution to the effect about five years back. Save for writing a few letters as claimed by the CM, it allegedly did not get any response from the Centre. However, it does not appear to have done anything more to keep the promise. With Munugodu bypolls round the corner and general elections a year away and to check the surge of BJP in the state, the TRS took up the issue and moved further on it.

The KCR government argues that Tamil Nadu has been following 69% quota, including 26.5 per cent for BCs, 3.5% for Backward Caste Muslims, 20% for Most Backward Castes. All these sections are generally classified as OBCs. Besides, the TN State provides 15% reservation for the SC, 3% for a sub-community of SCs and 1% for the STs and got its reservation law included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

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In Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, 1992, the apex court capped caste-based reservation, ruling that “no provision of reservation or preference can be so vigorously pursued as to destroy the very concept of equality.” The States and the Union have by and large accepted this. Any reservation beyond 50% threshold would be liable to be struck down.

In 1979, the Janata Party government constituted the Second Backward Classes Commission – popularly known as the Mandal Commission after its chairman and a Bihar MP Bindheshwar Mandal – with the mandate to identify India’s socially or educationally backward classes. At the time, India already had reservation for Dalits and Adivasis. The Mandal Commission’s report, submitted in 1980, called for giving reservation to the Other Backward Classes. Soon after the report was submitted, the Congress returned to power and the proposal was put in cold storage.

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It took a decade and another non-Congress government, this time led by VP Singh, implemented the Mandal Commission’s recommendations, sparking a storm of protests and a petition to the Supreme Court which came to be known as the Indra Sawhney case. Ruling on the petition, the court partially accepted the government’s new policy, allowing for 27% reservation for the Other Backward Classes, but put in a crucial rider: socially and economically advanced individuals among the Other Backward Classes will not be covered. The court also held that the share of jobs, or educational or legislative seats reserved for different communities cannot together exceed 50%.

The court did not explain why 50% is “reasonable” when the Other Backward Classes alone are at least 52% of the population. In any case, the 50% ceiling meant the Other Backward Classes received 27% share in the reservation pie while Dalits and Adivasis together got 22.5%, bringing the total to 49.5%.

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Tamil Nadu added to the confusion by ensuring the Supreme Court’s judgement did not weaken its reservation system, which was more extensive than anywhere else in India. The Assembly passed the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Act which was subsequently included into the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution through the 76th Constitution Amendment passed by Parliament in 1994.

Many other states want to have a similar leverage. Maharashtra wants to provide reservation for Marathas, Rajasthan and Odisha wanted to extend reservation to new groups. In Gujarat, Patidars have been agitating, sometimes violently, for reservation. Karnataka wants the reservation cap to be raised 70%, whereas Andhra Pradesh and Telangana want it at 55% and 62% respectively. The two Telugu states have already passed laws and want that they too should be included in the Ninth schedule like Tamil Nadu.

However, it is not that easy since the Tamil Nadu’s reservation policy itself is now facing scrutiny by the Supreme Court. But it can be a poll issue and a good strategy to blame the Centre. #KhabarLive #hydnews #hyderabadlive

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