NEW DELHI: Maj General SR Sinho, who headed the three-member national commission for economically backward classes, has welcomed the Centre’s 10% quota for the poor among forward castes, saying he is glad the sufferings of the general classes have been taken note of.

General Sinho said that “cognisance of the sufferings of the general classes” has been taken and expressed the view that the law will pass legal scrutiny since it is a constitutional amendment. The report of the commission headed by Gen Sinho is understood to have noted that the criteria of social and educational backwardness was a hurdle for a quota for the economically weak and had suggested welfare measures could be considered for these sections.

The former Army general, however, said that only two states – Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – had built mechanisms to support reservation for the economically weaker sections as had been recommended by the Sinho Commission report submitted in 2010. The report was not made public. General Sinho also said during the course of the committee’s interactions, while many states had said reservations should only be given on economic grounds, none – possibly fearing political repercussions – gave written submissions for the withdrawal or change in existing quotas.

Sinho also explained that the report addressed the basic question of who is poor and why. “Poverty is not a caste or religion-based problem. It is a social and economic problem. So reservation needs to be on socioeconomic criteria.”



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