From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Horizontal quota
Mains level : Debate over 50% cap of reservations
The Bihar government recently announced 33% horizontal reservation for women in State engineering and medical colleges.
What are vertical and horizontal reservations?
- Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is referred to the as vertical reservation.
- It applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law.
- Horizontal reservation refers to the equal opportunity provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.
How are the two categories of quotas applied together?
- The horizontal quota is applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board.
- For example, if women have 50% horizontal quota, then half of the selected candidates will have to necessarily be women in each vertical quota category.
- This means half of all selected SC candidates will have to be women, half of the unreserved or general category will have to be women, and so on.
- The interlocking of the two types of reservation throws up a host of questions on how certain groups are to be identified.
- For example, would an SC woman be put in the category of women or SC? Since quotas are fixed in percentages, what percentage of quota would be attributed to each?