Gujarat Assembly passes Bill for more OBC seats in local bodies


The BJP government in Gujarat on Friday passed a Bill in the Assembly earmarking 27% of seats in local bodies like panchayats, municipalities, and civic corporations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Previously, the communities had a 10% reservation.

The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was passed through a majority voice vote in the Assembly after all the 17 Congress MLAs, including Congress Legislative Party leader Amit Chavda and senior MLA Arjun Modhwadia, staged a walkout demanding higher ratio of reservation. and tabling of a report of the commission headed by former Chief Justice of Odisha KS Zaveri.

According to the State government, in 33 district panchayats, OBC seats will go up from 105 to 206; in 248 taluka panchayats, seats will increase from 505 to 994; in eight municipal corporations, there will be 181 seats instead of 67; and in 156 municipalities, the increase will be from 481 to 1,270.

Moreover, in 14,562 village panchayats, the OBC seats will increase from 12,750 to 22,617.

In Gujarat, OBCs are estimated to be 49.2% of the population. Last month, the State had announced 27% reservation for OBCs in local bodies on the basis of a report submitted by the Zaveri Commission. Earlier, OBC reservation in local bodies in the State was at 10%.

The State government introduced the Bill to amend relevant provisions related to reservation in the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation Act of 1949, The Gujarat Municipalities Act of 1963, and The Gujarat Panchayats Act of 1993.

However, in areas notified under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, most of them with a substantial tribal population, the OBC quota in local bodies will remain 10%.

Also, the existing quota for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes will remain unchanged and there has been no breach of the 50% reservation ceiling, Gujarat Minister for Parliamentary and Legislative Affairs Rushikesh Patel said while tabling the Bill in the Assembly.

During the discussions in the House on the Bill, the Opposition Congress members demanded that instead of a uniform ratio of 27% applicable to all the local bodies of the State, reservation should be declared unit-wise in proportion to the OBC population in these units. , such as a district panchayat or a municipal corporation.

The Congress alleged that the State government was committing “injustice” by giving just 27% when it could offer a much higher percentage.

Explaining the unit-wise quota system, Mr. Chavda said that if such a system is followed, the OBC quota for Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will be different from Surat Municipal Corporation or a district panchayat because of the difference in OBC population.

Moreover, Mr. Chavda and Mr. Modhvadia also demanded tabling of the commission’s report claiming that without going through the findings and recommendations of the report, any discussion on the Bill was meaningless.

The State government has neither tabled the report in the Assembly nor made it public while taking the decision to hike the quotas on the basis of the report.

When the Treasury Bench refused to accept the demands of the Opposition party members, the 17 Congress MLAs staged a walkout, following which the Bill was passed with a majority voice vote.

During a heated debate, Mr. Chavda accused the BJP government of not following the Supreme Court order on fixing reservation quota based on population in each unit.

“You need to give unit-wise reservation as directed by the SC. As per available data, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation nearly has 40% OBC population. If we put the population of SCs and STs at 10%, you can still reserve 40% seats for OBCs. Instead, only 27 % seats will be reserved because of your decision to give uniform quota to all. This will reduce the representation of OBCs,” Mr. Chavda said while alleging injustice to the OBCs by the ruling party.

However, Rishikesh Patel, who tabled the Bill, insisted that Gujarat has become the fourth State to hike the OBC quota in local bodies in the country. He added that OBCs enjoy 27% quota in education and 27% quota in government jobs.


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