NEW DELHI: Centre on Thursday made it clear in the Lok Sabha that there is no proposal currently to increase the percentage of reservation.
“Some say that Parliament can increase it, but in the current scenario, the ministry does not have any such proposal," union minister for social justice and empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot said. The prevailing reservation limit is 49.5 per cent.
During a debate on the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Union minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said that there has been demands on raising the percentage of quota, but, the apex court has ordered that it cannot be raised beyond 50 per cent.
Subsequently, the House passed the bill that seeks inclusion of Sualgiri and Swalgiri castes in the Scheduled Castes list of Odisha. These communities were found synonymous with Sabakhia caste, which is already included in the list of Scheduled Castes of Odisha.
While making the stand clear, the minister asserted that the BJP is supportive of the reservation and it will always be in future. He, in fact, said that there is no possibility of raising the reservation quota.
The minister added the government was taking all steps to promote social, economical and political status of dalit communities and in the last three years, it has increased the allocations.
“The government has strengthened the laws and was also trying to provide good education to these communities. We are providing all benefits to them...We have taken steps for their all round development," Gehlot said.
However, many members express concern over the condition of Dalits and people belonging to schedule caste in the country. Participating in the debate on the bill, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge expressed surprise that there has been no marked improvement in the social status of dalits.
"The government should take utmost care while including or excluding any caste from the list...It should take decision based on merit rather than political consideration," he said.
Kharge said that the government should not buckle under pressure of ruling party or opposition for inclusion or exclusion of caste from the list of SC/ST or Other Backward Caste.
RJD member Rajesh Ranjan spoke about importance of Dalit education and economic freedom to stop suicides like the ones at JNU.