The Telangana Government on 12 April 2017 decided to increase the reservations quota for the socially and economically backward Muslims and the Scheduled tribes in the state. The decision was taken on the basis of a report presented by the State’s Backward Classes Commission, which recommended a hike in the reservation for the classes. Presently, while the Muslims who are referred to as BC-E in the state enjoy 4 per cent reservation, the STs enjoy 7.5 per cent reservation.
The exact raise in the percentage of the quota of both the groups would be decided by the cabinet at its next meeting, which is scheduled to be held on 15 April 2017. Increasing the reservation quota of the BC-E and STs was one of the promises made by the ruling Telangana Rastra Samithi party during its election campaign. The decision would be backed by a legislation in the name of Telangana State Reservation Act that will be introduced at a special session of the state’s assembly on 16 April 2017.
Speaking on the development, the Chief Minister of the state, K. Chandrasekhar Rao said that the reservation quota for the particular groups was being raised not on a caste or religious basis but keeping in mind the social composition of the state following the bifurcation. Rao further added that the Telangana government would be following a model similar to that of Tamil Nadu in raising the quota up to 69 per cent, much above the constitutionally approved limit of 50 per cent.
He also supported the cabinet’s decision by recalling the judgement of Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case after Mandal Commission protests, which stated that the Central and State governments were free to exceed the 50 per cent cap on the reservation quota if they had “quantifiable and impeccable” data about population and social composition. The SC, ST, BC and other minority groups amount to about 90 per cent of the Telangana’s total population.