Reservation for economically backward is complicated: Commission

Agartala, Nov 25 ( Reservation for economically backward classes is not possible without constitutional amendments, members of the commission looking into the issue said here Wednesday.

“The issue of providing reservation on the basis of economic backwardness is a new concept and a departure from the existing arrangement of reservation provided to the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, tribals and other backward communities (OBC),” Mahendra Singh, member secretary of the Commission for Economically Backward Classes (CEBC), told reporters.

The centre had reconstituted the CEBC in July 2006 to consider reservation in government jobs and education for economically backward people. The three-member CEBC under the union ministry of social justice and empowerment is now on a four-day visit to the northeastern state of Tripura.

“Despite a Supreme Court order, many state governments have already given reservations of more than 50 percent for various categories of people. Thus reservation for people belonging to the economically backward becomes complicated,” said Singh.

The apex court ruling had earlier said reservations cannot exceed 50 percent in any state. However, there are laws in certain states, including Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Orissa where this 50 percent limit has been exceeded and there is litigation pending in the Supreme Court in this regard.

Singh and CEBC member Narendra Kumar told reporters that the commission would submit its report to the Centre by March next year.

The CEBC would suggest criteria for the identification of economically backward classes (EBC) and recommend welfare measures and guidelines of reservation in education and government employment to the extent appropriate.

The commission has already visited 22 states and some union territories and obtained the views of the state governments and people living there.