The Union Cabinet on January 7 approved a 10 percent reservation for economically backward upper castes in government jobs.
A constitutional amendment bill would be moved in Parliament to this effect on January 8.
The benefit would be extended to those whose family income is under Rs 8 lakh per annum.
According to a report by PTI, Cabinet nod also included 10 percent reservation in educational institutions for the section, besides government jobs. Moneycontrol could not independently verify this report.
This reservation will be over and above the existing 50 percent reservation. The section currently does not get reservation.
The government wants to extend the Winter Session, which ends on January 8, by two days, News18 has reported.
Political observers suggest that the move is a step to consolidate upper caste votes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May.
Reacting to the development, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi termed the move as an “election gimmick” and asked what the government was doing for the past four years and eight months.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his party will support the government if it decides to go for a Constitutional Amendment in Parliament “before elections.”
“Otherwise, it will be clear that this is just a political stunt of government before election (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said that reservation is not to improve financial condition but for the “representation of the socially backward people.”
“If financial condition was to be improved… Modi ji should have given Rs 15 lakh and jobs,” Yadav said.
Gujarat-based leader Hardik Patel echoed the Congress’ sentiments, stating that the move is “Modi government’s last arrow” before the elections.
“If this is a lollipop given to the people, that will be wrong,” Patel told News18.
“This will open a pandora’s box… others will also demand reservation now. But we welcome the move… The Parliament is very much in power to raise the ceiling,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Udit Raj told news agency ANI.