Gujarat govt hikes OBC reservation in local bodies from 10% to 27%
The decision was taken by the Gujarat state Cabinet based on the recommendation of Justice Jhaveri Commission report
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat on Tuesday hiked reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the existing 10% to 27% for elections in the panchayats and urban local bodies based on the recommendation of Justice Jhaveri Commission report.
The decision is expected to pave the way for holding local body polls, which were postponed due to pending quota issues after the Supreme Court mandated that reservation for OBCs should be on the basis of their population.
The commission’s report will be tabled in the state assembly during the monsoon session slated to be held in the month of September, said Rushikesh Patel, Gujarat minister and government spokesperson.
The commission, headed by Gujarat high court judge KS Jhaveri (retired) was set up by the state government in July 2022 with an aim to collect and analyse data about the nature and implications of backwardness in local bodies. This was necessary for fixing the OBC quota in elections for institutes of local self-governance.
Patel said that based on the report, a Cabinet sub-committee recommended 27% reservations for OBC in local bodies and the recommendation was accepted by the state Cabinet on Tuesday.
“Earlier, OBC reservation in local bodies was 10% in Gujarat. On direction of the Supreme Court a commission was appointed to redefine seat reservation for OBCs in local bodies. We received the report of the Jhaveri Commission in April. After that deliberations were carried out by a sub-committee of the Cabinet,” he said.
Now on, seats in panchayats (gram, taluka and district), municipalities and municipal corporations will be kept reserved for OBC candidates in 27% proportion when elections are held.
“However, in the PESA (Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas) notified areas, the reservation will continue to be 10% for OBCs. This is done to protect the interest of tribals,” the minister said. The PESA notified areas include 50 predominantly tribal talukas in eight districts of the state.
Also, the existing quota for Scheduled Castes (14%) and Scheduled Tribes (7%) remain unchanged and there has been no breach of the 50% reservation ceiling, the minister said. .
“There is a 50% cap on reservation (mandated by the apex court). So, we cannot make it beyond 27% reservation for OBCs,” he said.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed that seats to be reserved for OBC candidates in each local body will be decided as per recommendations of a commission following a detailed study.