New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday night, cleared the 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the “economically weaker section” from the general category of citizens. The Lok Sabha passed the bill on Tuesday. It will become a law after the assent from the president.
The Union Cabinet approved the bill on Monday.
In the Upper House, the bill was passed with a majority of 165 against seven votes after a lengthy debate. The bill was introduced in Parliament by the minister of social justice and empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot. He has also assured that the existing reservation for backward class will not be affected while making the amendment.
While celebrating the historical move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded members of Parliament for their overwhelming support for the bill. Modi tweeted: “The House also witnessed a vibrant debate, where several members expressed their insightful opinions … It ensures a wider canvas for our “yuva shakti (youth power)” to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation … we pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive.”
Passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament is a victory for social justice.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2019
It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation.
By passing The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, we pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2019
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has clarified that the beneficiaries will be entitled to both central and state government jobs. The economic criteria for identification of the beneficiaries will be determined by the states. In an oblique reference to the BJP’s prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, he said the move is a “slog-over six”, with “many more to come”.
During the debate in the house, the opposition parties, including the DMK, Left and AAP, had demanded that the bill to be sent to a select committee. However, the resolution was defeated with majority of 155 against 18 votes.
While criticizing the bill as “electoral compulsion”, the opposition parties raised a range of issues while debating the bill.
Congress leader Anand Sharma pointed out that attempts were made earlier to extent reservation for EWS of general category, however, the Supreme Court had dismissed the idea saying no such provision is there in the Constitution. Another Congress MP and former Union minister, Kapil Sibal, asked Modi government why the bill excluded other backward classes from availing the benefit who earn less than the people from EWS of general category.
Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav accused current government for failing to provide adequate reservation for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward communities. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien also attacked the government and said the proposal is for misleading youth and poor people. He said, “The Trinamool Congress is disgusted. We are angry that Parliament has been disrespected, completely disrespected and this is the wrong method which has been used here.”