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No move to increase SC quota: Govt

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The government has no intention to increase reservation for Scheduled Castes, Union Minister for Social Justice Thaawar Chand Gehlot said in the Lok Sabha today.

He was replying to a debate on the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which would pave the way for the inclusion of the list of Scheduled Castes in Odisha and Puducherry. The Bill was later passed by the Lok Sabha. It seeks inclusion of Sualgiri and Swalgiri castes in the SC list of Odisha. These communities were found synonymous with Sabakhia caste, which is already included in the list of Scheduled Castes of Odisha. The minister also assured the House that his government has no immediate plan to cut the present reservation quota. The government was in favour of reservation till social disparity remains in society, he said

Earlier, participating in the debate, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said political parties should not consider inclusion of scheduled castes for their political gains. “The benefits of the Bill should reach the downtrodden and needy people without any political bias,” he said. Other members who supported the Bill also demanded increase in the reservation quota and provide more facilities to SC people in need.

Later replying to the debate, Mr Gehlot said the demand for increasing the quota cannot be considered as the Supreme Court has restricted the total number to 50 per cent. “Some say that Parliament can increase it, but in the current scenario, the ministry does not have any such proposal," he said.

The minister said the Centre was taking all steps to promote social, economic and political status of Dalit communities and in the last three years, the government had increased the budget allocations from Rs 38,000 crore for SCs to Rs 52,000 crore, nearly 30 % more, the minister said.

Mr Gehlot also accused the previous government of making provisions only on paper for SCs and always spending less than the allocated budget. He questioned why the previous government had stopped facilities to SCs in institutions like Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia.