This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Priyanka Patra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The 10% Reservation Bill Has Been Dubbed Unconstitutional, But Here Are Its Other Problems

More from Priyanka Patra

SansadUnplugged logoEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #SansadUnplugged, a campaign by Young Leaders for Active Citizenship India and Youth Ki Awaaz where your elected representatives engage directly with you on key policy issues that matter. Find out more and engage with those you vote for here.

Whether a tactical masterstroke or a political gimmick, the recently passed bill for 10% reservation to economically weaker upper castes doesn’t really stand for the objective it should serve. The trend of ‘preservation of reservation’ had not been the initial objective when it was introduced for the first time. To cure the disease of caste discrimination and untouchability the reservation system was introduced as a vaccine.

Instead of curing the disease due to defective implementation, the overdose continued. The means of special provision and constitutional security to the socially backward classes became the means to minority appeasement or ‘vote banks.’

The attitude of the members in the parliament when passing of the bill is testimony to the fact that no party can take the risk to say no to reservation and lose vote banks. When the bill was presented and discussed in the Rajya Sabha, members despite having strong objections, calling it a political stunt for upcoming elections and seriously flawed, said yes to it in the end. No leader supported DMK’s motion to send the bill to a joint select committee for reconsideration.

One of the criteria mentioned in the bill for somebody to avail reservation in economically backwards quota is family household income of less than ₹8 lakh per year. As Derek O’ Brien, TMC leader pointed out it redefines India’s poverty line from ₹32 per day to ₹2,100 per day. Other criteria to consider somebody deserving for such reservation is to have agricultural land less than five acres and to have a house smaller than 1000 square feet.

Times of India reports that according to NSSO data at least 95% of Indian families fall under the 8 lakh annual income limit. About 86% of land-holdings in India are under two hectares in size. Another NSSO report on housing conditions shows that even the richest 20% of the population had houses with an average floor area of almost 500 square feet. Which means this reservation provision covers well almost every Indian.

Just like caste based reservation, this also doesn’t provide the provision to opt out. Which means a poor farmer is clubbed together with a decent earning government employ to avail reservation.

Consider a farmer who has less than two acres of land and his/her child’s accessibility to quality education, nutrition and other things with the child of a government employ, undoubtedly the later has more chances to get better scores for higher education and a chance to study in a better institution for getting a better job. The absurd paradoxical criteria will ruin the future of Indian youths.

Putting aside the flaws in criteria, another objection is it’s unconstitutional according to the 1992 Supreme Court judgement which had set the 50% reservation ceiling. The recently introduced category of reservation makes it 59.5%.

The introduction of reservation to socially backward classes was based on social, cultural backwardness which was the cause of not only widespread poverty in these communities but also an obstacle for upward social mobilisation. Reservation assured representation of the so called lower caste communities in education institutes and different job sectors to bring them into the mainstream society and discard chances of exclusion.

With the implementation of Mandal Commission report by the VP Singh government, the purpose of reservation changed altogether and debatably propagated caste to continue as the sole criteria for reservation and categorization. Though the creamy layer concept was introduced as well, the income limit gets extended without restrictions allowing more and more people to be eligible for such. The comparison between the hastily taken decisions by VP Singh government and Modi government have a lot of similarities and yes of course a hidden political agenda to seize power.

The EWS (Economically Weaker Section) quota will have similar kind of flaws that the ST, SC, OBC quota has. The biggest reason for which reservation system has been criticized and anti-reservation protests have taken place is that often economically sound persons belonging to mentioned categories tend to rip benefits leaving the needy downtrodden. Ironically, EWS quota with the current model is going to provide ample chances for getting misused by the hands of those who hold unaccounted income to fudge lower income certificates.

Now, the picture is quite clear that the bill lacks practicality and the consequences are yet to be seen on the ground. Leaving aside the flaws in the manner of implementation of the bill, what else that waits in the near future is hatred and discontent from the unreserved category.

One has to keep in mind that reservation system was not meant for alleviating poverty, rather social backwardness. Government has to give scholarships, expand infrastructure, create seats in colleges and job opportunity for uplifting the poor. When the country is in dire need for revising the existing list of reservation availers, our government is busy being unconstitutional in all possible manners.

Featured image source: Pinakpani/Wikimedia Commons.

Tell us your thoughts and observations on this Bill. Your article will contribute to the way your elected representatives are presenting bills, defining policies and creating change in the Parliament. Response article will be shared with respective Member of Parliament, and in many cases - suggestions are included in the drafting of future policies.

You must be to comment.
  1. Anuran Bhattacharya

    I am waiting for a time when the political right will have enough of a backbone to scrap reservation altogether. The propagation of “equality of outcomes” is at it’s crux against “equality of opportunities”. The problem with taking a step ahead is that the mindless, worthless, freeloading mob who just want more benefits with less work form a large portion of the vote bank.

    1. Priyanka Patra

      1. You don’t wait for the Government to ‘scrap’ Pulse Polio program. We want India polio-free.
      2. It’s not about inequality of opportunities , it’s about lack of opportunities altogether.
      3. The problem is with the creators of the vote banks. Their constant attempt to maintain loyalty propagates the weaker section identity.

      The loopholes in the Reservation system needs to be fixed. There are needy people out there, they are not ‘beneficiaries’ . They need representation, they need reservation.

More from Priyanka Patra

Similar Posts

By Ronak Aazad

By Rahul Shewale


Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below