Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Wednesday approved 10 per cent reservation in education and employment opportunities for the economically weaker sections (EWS).

On Monday, Maharashtra Cabinet approved centre’s scheme of 10 per cent reservation to the EWS among the general category in government jobs and educational institutions across the state, ANI reported. Earlier the Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and the Jharkhand government had approved 10 per cent reservation given by Central Government in government jobs and education.

However, the Vijay Rupani-led government in Gujarat had said that those who have settled in the state after 1978 will not be eligible for the 10 per cent quota to the poor in the general category. Gujarat, which was the first state in the country to implement the reservation for the EWS in the general category, announced that in order to avail the benefit, people must fulfil the above-mentioned criteria.

The Supreme Court on January 25 heard a petition challenging the Centre’s decision to introduce 10 per cent quota for the poor in general category. The Bill has fixed an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh and not owning more than five acres of agricultural land as criteria for defining an economically weaker section in the general category for availing of the reservation in educational institutions as well as government jobs.

The plea filed by NGO Youth for Equality and Kaushal Kant Mishra sought the quashing of the bill stating that it violated the basic feature of the Constitution. It added that economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation and the 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

It does not provide quota for those owning a flat of 1000 square feet or more, land of 100 sq yards in notified municipality area and 200 yards in the non-notified area.

The Bill seeks to amend Article 15 of the Constitution, by adding a clause which allows states to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”. These “special provisions” would relate to “their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority educational institutions”.

It also makes it clear that reservation would be “in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of ten per cent of the total seats in each category”.