Chhattisgarh will have a total of 72% reservation, the highest in the country by any state and 22% more than the 50% cap on quotas mandated by the Supreme Court.
In a significant development ahead of the local bodies elections in the state, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh has announced to increase the reservation quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs) in government jobs and educational institutions. A report in The Indian Express said that the government has effected a twofold increase in the OBC from 14% to 27% while the quota for SCs has been marginally hiked by 1% to 13%. The quota for Scheduled Tribes remains unchanged at 32%.
Once in effect, the state will have a total of 72% reservation, the highest in the country by any state and 22% more than the 50% cap on quotas mandated by the Supreme Court.
“I am very happy to say that in our state, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes have been raising their demands in a peaceful manner for a long time. It is our duty to protect their Constitution given rights. In a big step towards that, today, I announce that in the state, that 32% for STs, 13% for SCs and 27% reservation will be given to OBCs,” Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said while addressing people at the Police Parade Ground in Raipur on Thursday on the occasion of Independence Day celebrations.
Till now, the OBCs and SCs were getting 14% and 12% reservation, respectively, while the STs had 32% reservation in government jobs and government-run educational institutions. Chhattisgarh has a total population of 2.55 crore of which people from the OBC category constitute 45%. The announcement, by CM Baghel, himself an OBC, to hike quota comes just ahead of the local bodies polls in the state where the Congress formed the government last December after a gap of 15 years.
It was Baghel’s stature as an OBC leader in the state that propelled him as the Congress’ top choice for the job in the state. Baghel holds good command over the OBC population of the state. The Congress hopes that the latest decision will help the party to consolidate the OBC vote in the local bodies elections
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister on Thursday also announced that an ‘elephant reserve’ will be set up to provide the tuskers a permanent habitat and prevent human-animal conflicts. The Lemru Elephant Reserve will be set up in Korba district’s Lemru forest area to deal with the increasing man-animal conflicts in the region. The elephant reserve will be the first of its kind in the world and provide a permanent habitat to the pachyderms, he said.
Besides, he also announced the creation of a new district — Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi, which will be carved out of Bilaspur, increasing the total number of districts in the state to 28. The government, he said, will also launch a ‘Suposhan Abhiyan’, to fight malnutrition, across the state on October 2. An assistance of Rs 10,000 per month will be provided to the ‘gowthan’ (cow shelter) committees to provide honorarium to herdsman and other facilities at the cow shelters.