Parliament Clears 10% Quota For Economically Weak In General Category

New Delhi:  The Parliament on Wednesday passed the Quota Bill to provide 10 per cent jobs and education for economically-backward sections in the General category. The government had termed the landmark move as ‘slog over sixes’.

1. The Biju Janata Dal along with several opposition parties questioned the timing of the Bill even as they supported the legislation. The general contention was that the government’s move was meant to reap benefits in the coming national elections.

2. The “Constitution (One Hundred and Twenth-Four Amendment) Bill, 2019 or the Quota Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha following a marathon debate with 165 voting in its favour and 7 against. Opposition’s demand to send the Bill to a select committee was also defeated during the voting. Lok Sabha had passed the legislation on Tuesday.

3. Speaking at a rally in Agra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to clarify the timing of the decision saying, “Some people question why have I done this before the elections. You tell me – do any few months go by without elections? So when should I have done this? This is why I keep it on saying that state and central elections should happen together”.

4. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Rajya Sabha that 10 percent reservation to poor in the general category will be applicable to jobs in both Central and State governments. Defending the 10 percent reservation, he was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying, “Everyone is talking about the 50 percent cap on reservation. There’s no mention of this cap in the Constitution, it has only come up in judgments.”

5. Participating in the debate on behalf of the party, the BJD Parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha Prasanna Acharya said the BJP government is a ‘sick government’ and the quota Bill as ‘oxygen’ to the government. He feared the Bill may lead to confrontation between judiciary and legislature.

6. According to legal experts, in the event the Bill is challenged in the Court, the Government will have a tough time defending its decision as the Supreme Court has already capped the reservation quota to 50 per cent.

7. The Bill will now go to the President for his approval before it is declared a law.

8. According to Hindustan Times, about 19 crore people will stand to benefit from the reservation. It will benefit a huge section of upper castes — including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars, and several traders belonging to the Kapu and Kamma communities. The economically deprived among the other religions will also benefit.

9. Congress leader Kapil Sibal supported the Bill but expressed concern over the way it is being passed in haste in a day. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, while supporting the Bill, demanded that reservation for OBCs be enhanced to 54 percent.