Millennium Post

10% quota bill clears RS test

New Delhi: A 10 per cent quota in jobs and education for people from general category who also belong to the economically weaker sections became possible Wednesday after the Rajya Sabha passed a bill for this. The bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha Tuesday evening, will now need the signature of the President.

As the government introduced the critical bill in the Upper House, the opposition parties strongly protested the legislation and demanded to send 'The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019' to a select committee.

Participating in the discussion, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "The Mandal Commission provision of 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker category was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. If a nine-judge bench held it unconstitutional, how can you amend the constitution?"

Terming the 'quota bill' as a sign of the failure of the incumbent government, TMC leader Derek O'Brien said, "This bill (Quota Bill) is an acknowledgement of guilt, that we haven't created any jobs in last four and a half years. It redefines India's poverty line of Rs 32 a day; if we look at the number of Rs 8 lakh a year, the new poverty line is Rs 2,100 a day."

The Congress, DMK, RJD and Aam Aadmi Party were in the well of the house and continued to raise slogans against the government, which led to adjournment of the house till 2 pm while the discussion on the bill was on.

DMK member Kanimozhi demanded the Constitution amendment bill be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny and sought division on her motion. Her demand was supported by members of some parties including D Raja (CPI), with Congress also asking the deputy chairman to take up her plea first and allow division on her motion.

As Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel accused the opposition of seeking to stall the passage of the bill, Congress member Anand Sharma strongly opposed his allegations, while RJD leader Manoj Jha stated that the bill was "interference with the basic structure of the Constitution".

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, while supporting the bill, demanded reservation for OBCs be enhanced to 54 per cent, keeping in mind the increase in their population. The AIADMK staged a walkout while opposing the bill.

On the applicability of the bill, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that 10 per cent reservation to poor in the general category would be applicable to jobs in both central and state governments.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and was brought to the Upper House after the sitting of the House was extended by a day.

Defending the bill, Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, "This decision has not been taken in haste. It is brought with good intention keeping in view the welfare of the poor in general category people."

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