The Narendra Modi government, in a historic move, introduced the 124th constitutional amendment that paved the way for 10% reservation to economically backward people. Thought due to political considerations, several parties had to support the Bill, including Congress, several lies and misrepresentations started being furthered by these political parties and their supporters.
The subject of reservations is a sensitive subject and any lie that gets furthered in its name can create unrest in the country. Hence, it becomes imperative to not only fact-check but ensures that these fallacious claims don’t gather wind.
Lie 1: The 10% reservation will accrue only to upper castes or Savarnas
The mainstream media can be largely held responsible for spreading this lie. While before this Bill was tabled, most people were speculating whether the reservation would be limited to upper castes or would encompass the general category as a while, several media persons continued to spread this lie even after the Bill was tabled in the parliament.
Nistula Hebbar, senior journalist with The Hindu, said the reservations were for ‘uppar castes’ even thought she had tweeted a copy of the original bill moved in Parliament.
The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeking quotas for EWS among upper castes. pic.twitter.com/5yUiyKT5na
— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) January 8, 2019
Other journalists and media houses too spread this lie liberally.
— Financial Express (@FinancialXpress) January 9, 2019
Quota for upper castes cleared so rapidly, but women’s reservation bill pending for last 9 years! https://t.co/4NxvsOQ3Ub
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) January 8, 2019
Full detail about upper caste reservation pic.twitter.com/NBSjt394RR
— Narendra nath mishra (@iamnarendranath) January 7, 2019
In other words BJP wants ‘upper’ caste reservation (fear of backlash to restoring original SC /St act). But two points – going above 50 % quotas is unconstitutional & will be struck down by court. Two, where are the govt jobs? https://t.co/Xj98HJI8pD
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) January 7, 2019
However, the truth is that in the Bill itself, the words ‘Upper caste’ finds no place at all. This 10% reservation is aimed at economically backward sections regardless of caste, creed and religion. Perhaos the journalists are peddling this fake news because now that it has been passed, the demands for caste based reservation and that of Muslim reservation would not find any traction or legal sanction. Any other category except the SC, ST, OBC etc would need to avail of the 10% quota if they meet the financial backwardness criteria.
Lie 2: Modi government is planning to eventually phase out reservation for SC, ST and OBCs
Several politicians including Arvind Kejriwal, Congress’ Jignesh Mevani and others spread the lie that ‘they had spoken to several people from RSS’ who had said that this 10% reservation for the poor is just a starting point. The BJP’s next step would be to phase out reservation for OBC, SC and ST. This lie was busted by us.
The BJP government has reiterated several times that they do not intend to tamper with the existing 49.5% reservation already granted to socially weaker sections of the society.
Lie 3: The 10% reservation Bill breached the 50% reservation limit
We covered this aspect comprehensively too. The 10% reservation bill has been introduced by a Constitutional amendment that introduces Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6). The 50% reservation limit pertains only to caste based reservation and this 10% reservation pertains the economically backward people which has never come up for discussion to begin with. Hence, the 50% reservation limit, that pertains only to caste based reservation according to the Indra Sawhney judgement, won’t get breached with this introduction of 10% reservation.
If at all the Bill is appealed in Supreme Court, the Court will have to evaluate the need for this 10% reservation independent of the 50% reservation limit set for socially backward classes.
Lie 4: ‘Individuals’ who earn less then Rs. 8 Lac per annum will be able to avail of this reservation
This is patently untrue. The Rs. 8 Lac per annum limit pertains to an entire family and not an individual. This limit is also in tune with the existing ‘creamy layer’ norms applicable to the 50% reservation for backward classes.
The ‘creamy layer’ criteria was defined as annual family income from all sources. n 1971, it was Rs. 1,00,000. Im 1993, it was increased to Rs. 2,50,000. It was revised against in 2004 to Rs. 4,50,000, Rs. 6,00,000 in 2013 and Rs. 8,00,000 in 2017.
The 10% reservation introduced by the Modi government adheres to the creamy layer criteria and hence, the metric is that of a family and not of an individual.
One must realise that for a family that earns Rs. 8 Lakh per annum, after standard deductions, the tax liability is miniscule. And hence, the argument that if a family pays that amount in tax they cannot be considered poor is incorrect.
One must also realise that inflation and cost of living has to be taken into account. How the Governemnt plans to impliment the scheme is another matter which has not yet been spelt out in clear terms, but these glaring lies which are politically motivated in order to create discord in the society must be called out.