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LS approves Bill for quota to more communities

LS approves Bill for quota to more communities
Moving the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 Amendment Bill for consideration and passing, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, “The BJP, since its Jan Sangh days, has been favouring reservation for SC/ST and OBC and will remain committed to the objective.”

Misinformation is being spread that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is opposed to reservation, he said, adding, “we are not going to change the rules of reservation”.

He said the modifications in the 1950 Order were being introduced, after obtaining the approval of the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. These changes, he added, were in line with the suggestions made by the governments of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal.

The Bill, the Minister said, “proposes to include certain communities in the list and remove of area restriction in respect of certain communities and exclude certain communities in the case of Odisha”.

Participating in the discussion, several members, cutting across party lines, suggested that the government should come up with a Reservation Act to ensure that members belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) get the benefit at the time of promotion. The move, the members argued, would end interference of the courts as far as promotions are concerned. They also favoured affirmative action in the private sector and higher judiciary.

Some members said if more castes are being added to the list of SC, then the reservation quota should also be increased from the present level. They also underlined the need for setting up of residential schools in all districts across the country for SC and ST.

Gehlot said the Narendra Modi government has decided to open 62 Navodya Vidyalaya in districts that do not have one at present.

KH Muniyappa (Congress) regretted that since Independence the government has not earmarked adequate resources for the development of SC/ST community and demanded that residential schools should be set up in all 650 districts of the country. He said the proposal to review the Constitution by the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government was unfortunate. 

Among others who participated in the discussion included Virender Kashyap (BJP), C Gopalakrishnan (AIADMK), Pratima Mondal (TMC), Ladu Kishore Swain (BJD), Vinder Singh (BJP), Kamla Devi Patle (BJP), PD Rai (SWF), Manoj Rajoria (BJP), Balka Suman (TRS), Pappu Yadav (RJD), Jai Prakash Yadav (RJD), Kirit P Solanki (BJP) and Ajay Mishra (BJP).

The Union Cabinet last year approved a proposal to change the Central List of Other Backward Classes in the states of Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Kerala, consequent upon the inclusion of certain castes or parts thereof in the list of SC.

The castes and communities that were found eligible for their inclusion in SC category from Chhattisgarh are Sais, who are also known as Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi and Thanwar. Two castes from Haryana have also been included in the SC list. These are Aheria, also called Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori and Turi, and Rai Sikh. In Kerala, Peruvannan caste has been included the SC list, while Malayan from certain areas will also be entitled to the same benefits.

Castes, which have been excluded from the OBC list consequent upon their inclusion in SC list, include Bariki and Kummari from Odisha, while the area restriction of the inclusion of Chain caste in West Bengal has been removed.

After the Bill becomes an Act, members of the communities included in the SC list will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Castes under the existing schemes.
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