KOLKATA: British economist Lord Meghnad Desai on Thursday said the new Bill introduced by the Centre to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education is "principally correct" and claimed that the country should have gone for reservations based on economic criteria and not caste 50 years ago.
"At last it has happened. We should always have economic criteria for reservations, but we have had caste criteria instead. Thus One's low caste has become one's pride. So they would vehemently resist anyone calling them anything but a low caste," Desai said on the sidelines of the 53rd convocation of Indian Statistical Institute here, where he was the chief guest.
"It is too early to say whether the new reservation Bill will be economically sustainable. But the principle of the reservation is correct. The measure of reserving the economically weaker section is the principle that should have been taken 50 years ago," he said.
Desai said the Mandal Commission, or the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBC), that recommended members of Other Backward Classes (OBC) be granted reservations to 27 per cent of jobs under the Central government and public sector undertakings, should not have taken place in the country.
The economist claimed that India as a country should have taken steps to abolish caste system long ago, but instead it gave the system more prominence by introducing caste-based reservations.
The Bill was on Thursday challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds it breached the 50 per cent ceiling on quotas, barely a day after the measure secured parliamentary approval.