NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s cabinet on Monday backed proposals to reserve 10 percent of government jobs for Indians outside the higher income brackets, a plan the main opposition party suggested was an attempt by the government to lure back voters as an election nears.
The initiative is expected to mainly benefit the upper echelons of India’s centuries-old Hindu caste system, which has traditionally been a core voter base for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
Modi - Election - May - Setback - December
Modi must call a national election by May and was dealt a setback in December when the BJP lost power to the opposition Congress party in three states, its biggest defeat since he took office in 2014.
Two BJP sources said the quota plan would benefit people from other religions not covered by existing affirmative action – the reason why lower caste Hindus and India’s indigenous tribes were excluded from it.
Government - Bill - Recipients - Sources - Anyone
According to the government bill, the recipients must also be classed as “economically weak”, which the sources said was defined as anyone with annual income below 800,000 rupees ($11,500) and owning fewer than five acres of land.
In 2017, the average income in India was $1,939.60, according to the World Bank.
States - BJP - Rajasthan - Others - Maharashtra
The states the BJP lost included Rajasthan, one of four – the others being Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana – in...
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