Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Commission for Economically Backward Classes among Forward Communities, as entrusted by the state government has recommended 167 forward castes for 10 per cent quota. Of this 148 castes are from Hindu community and 19 from Christian community.
Following the recent central legislation to set apart 10 per cent quota in government jobs and educational institutions, state governments have been 'sacting swiftly to make their own rules and procedures to implement the same.
For its part, Kerala ruling LDF coalition, especially its leading party CPM, has in the past supported the theory that economically weaker sections of communities that did not enjoy reservation should be offered such quota.
A recommendation to this efffect was handed over in the form of a report to the chief minister by the forward caste commission.
When debates were in the air following the central legislation, and much criticism was raised across the political spectrum about Modi government's move as an electoral ploy, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and scheduled caste/tribe development welfare minister AK Balan had expressed the stand that only those at the lower economic rung would be included in the beneficiaries. Balan had even gone on record as saying that those paying income tax would be out of the limit.
However, the recommendation now submitted has set a liberal income limit of Rs 8 lacs per year almost along the Centre's lines. Accordingly, those drawing a monthly income of Rs 66,600 also will be eligible for quota, which may again put the economically weaker segment of the listed communities in a handicap.
The communities, hitherto excluded from quotas, were those with adequate or more representation in government service and it was only to provide relief to the poorest among them them that the idea of economic reservation was mooted and finally made law.
Suits challenging the constitutionality of the law are pending before the Supreme Court.