Topic Of The Day:-“Quota Questions: On 10% Reservations”

Moves For Reservations On Economic Grounds Are More About Politics Than Social Justice

Rattled by the erosion in upper caste votes in the recent Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP government has attempted to recover this traditional vote base through an unapologetic political manoeuvre. It has sought to provide a 10% quota for economically weaker sections in public employment and educational institutions. That this is more an election-time signal to upper castes than a genuine attempt to revisit social justice policy is clear for at least two reasons. The 124th Constitution Amendment Bill will have to be passed by two-thirds of the MPs present and voting, and the challenge will be to drum up the numbers in both Houses. And, it is doubtful if it will stand judicial scrutiny. If enacted, the 50% limit on total reservation laid down by the Supreme Court will be breached. (The court did allow for a higher percentage in extraordinary situations, but it does not apply in this case.) Even if it is arguable that such a move will create deserving opportunities to those outside the purview of caste-based reservations, in Indira Sawhney a nine-judge bench had struck down a provision thatearmarked 10% for the economically backward on the ground that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis to determine backwardness. Any attempt to amend the Constitution to extend what is limited to the “socially and educationally backward” to those economically weak is problematic.If the amendment is challenged, a question that will arise is whether financial incapacity warrants special treatment. With the income ceiling for eligibility likely to be fixed at ₹8 lakh a year — the same as the ‘creamy layer’ limit above which OBC candidates now enjoying reservations become ineligible — an uneasy parity has been created between socially and educationally backward classes with limited means and those who are socially and educationally advanced with the samelimitation. The other issue that has come up frequently when quotas are increased by State governments is that exceeding the 50% limit offends the equality norm. In Nagaraj (2006), a Constitution Bench ruled that equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. It said the 50% ceiling, among other things, was a constitutional requirement without which the structure of equality of opportunity would collapse. There has been a string of judgments againstreservations that breach the 50% limit. Another issue is whether reservations can go to a section that is already adequately represented in public employment. It is not clear if the government has quantifiable data to show that people from lower income groups are under-represented in its service. Reservations have been traditionally provided to undo historical injustice and social exclusion suffered over a period of time, and the question is whether they should be extended to those with social and educational capital solely on the basis of what they earn.


1) Rattled

Meaning : make or cause to make a rapid succession of short, sharp knocking sounds(v).

Synonyms : shatter

Antonyms : appease

Example : “the roof rattled with little gusts of wind”

2) sought

Meaning : make or cause to make a rapid succession of short, sharp knocking sounds(v).

Synonyms : desired

Antonyms : outcast

Example : “the roof rattled with little gusts of wind”

3) scrutiny

Meaning : critical observation or examination.

Synonyms : analysis

Antonyms : glance

Example : “every aspect of local government was placed under scrutiny

4) enacted

Meaning : make (a bill or other proposal) law(v).

Synonyms : achieve

Antonyms : hinder

Example : “legislation was enacted to attract international companies”

5) breached

Meaning : make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence)(v).

Synonyms : contravene

Antonyms : receive

Example : “the river breached its bank”

6) earmarked

Meaning : designate (funds or resources) for a particular purpose(v).

Synonyms : designate

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “the cash had been earmarked for a big expansion of the programme”

7) determine

Meaning : cause (something) to occur in a particular way or to have a particular nature.

Synonyms : complete

Antonyms : commence

Example : “it will be her mental attitude that determines her future”

8) offends

Meaning : commit an illegal act(v).

Synonyms : aggrieve

Antonyms : assuage

Example : “a small hard core of young criminals who offend again and again”

9) exceeding

Meaning : very great(adj).

Synonyms : outstrip

Antonyms : fail

Example : “she spoke warmly of his exceeding kindness”

10) limitation

Meaning : a limiting rule or circumstance; a restriction(n).

Synonyms : curb

Antonyms : freedom

Example : “severe limitations on water use”

11) frequently

Meaning : regularly or habitually; often(adv).

Synonyms : often

Antonyms : rarely

Example : “they go abroad frequently”

12) contention

Meaning : heated disagreement(n).

Synonyms : conflict

Antonyms : accord

Example : “the captured territory was the main area of contention between the two countries”

13) consequential

Meaning : following as a result or effect(adj)

Synonyms : substantial

Antonyms : trivial

Example : “a loss of confidence and a consequential withdrawal of funds”

14) traded

Meaning : buy and sell goods and services(v).

Synonyms : restored

Antonyms : stored

Example : “middlemen trading in luxury goods”

15) involved

Meaning : difficult to understand; complicated(adj).

Synonyms : confusing

Antonyms : simple

Example : “a long, involved conversation”

16) amendments

Meaning : a minor change or addition designed to improve a text, piece of legislation, etc.

Synonyms : reform

Antonyms : harm

Example : “an amendment to existing bail laws”

17) ceiling

Meaning : the upper interior surface of a room or other similar compartment.

Synonyms : roof

Antonyms : floor

Example : “the books were stacked from floor to ceiling”

18) criteria

Meaning : a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided(n).

Synonyms : precedent

Antonyms : conjecture

Example : “they award a green label to products that meet certain environmental criteria”

19) deserving

Meaning : worthy of being treated in a particular way, typically of being given assistance.

Synonyms : estimable

Antonyms : unworthy

Example : “the deserving poor”

20) collapse

Meaning : (of a structure) suddenly fall down or give way.

Synonyms : debacle

Antonyms : creation

Example : “the roof collapsed on top of me”

21) reservations

Meaning : the action of reserving something(n).

Synonyms : restriction

Antonyms : openness

Example : “the reservation of positions for non-Americans”

22) adequately

Meaning : to a satisfactory or acceptable extent(adv).

Synonyms : decently

Antonyms : unequally

Example : “the resources required to prepare adequately will be extensive”

23) exclusion

Meaning : the process of excluding or the state of being excluded.

Synonyms : discharge

Antonyms : approval

Example : “he had a hand in my exclusion from the committee”

24) solely

Meaning : not involving anyone or anything else; only(adv).

Synonyms : entirely

Antonyms : incompletely

Example : “he is solely responsible for any debts the company may incur”

25) extended

Meaning : made larger; enlarged(adj)

Synonyms : protracted

Antonyms : abridged

Example : “an extended kitchen and new balcony”

26) supremacy

Meaning : the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status(n).

Synonyms : superiority

Antonyms : inferiority

Example : “the supremacy of the king”