The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat on Wednesday tweaked the new reservation law. Only those who have been residents of the state since 1978 can avail of the 10% quota in education and jobs for the poor among upper castes. An upper limit of Rs 8 lakh annual family income has been made the sole criterion for such residents to avail of the quota, PTI reported.

On January 13, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had announced that his administration would be the first to implement the “historic and revolutionary legislation”. The Gujarat Cabinet revised the law at its meeting in Gandhinagar on Wednesday.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 and in the Rajya Sabha a day later.

“The government has decided to consider only one aspect of family income of less than Rs 8 lakh as the eligibility criterion for candidates from the general category to qualify for the 10% EWS [Economically Weak Sections] quota,” Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said. A notification will be released soon and income certificates will be issued by government officers of the rank of mamlatdar and above, he added.

Patel also said the existing 33% reservation for women in government jobs will be included within the quota.

Opposition questions move

Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi on Thursday said there was no need to introduce this criterion as the domicile rule is already in place. Under this rule, a person qualifies to be a domicile of the state if he/she is either born in Gujarat or has lived there for over 10 years.

“There was no need to change the original quota law passed by the Centre,” said Doshi. “Perhaps, this is a tactic by the state government to deprive the beneficiaries. Since the domicile rule is already in place, there was no need to introduce this new rule, which asks for over 40 years of residency.”

Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad President Maheshsingh Kushwah said the move was an “injustice” to exclude those living in Gujarat for less than four decades in the state. “Many who came before 1978 might have already died. This is injustice to us,” he said. “What about those who came here and settled permanently 20, 30, or even 40 years back? Why they have they not been included?”

Kushwah said his outfit would hold discussions on the matter and approach the state government for relief.