National

Rajya Sabha clears Reservation Bill

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2019

Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. (TV grab)   -  PTI

Supreme Court may strike it down, says Opposition

The Bill to provide 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker forward castes in jobs and in educational institutions was passed in Rajya Sabha here on Wednesday. Before becoming a law, the Constitutional Amendment Bill has to get the approval of at least 50 per cent of the Assemblies and the President of the country.

While the BJP projected the legislation as a milestone in the country’s history, the Opposition parties said it is nothing but a frivolous and hypocritical exercise and that it is prepared in a hurry eyeing the elections. Though the Opposition parties supported the Bill, they said it was presented without any “qualifiable” data and is bound to be questioned by the Supreme Court. “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 ,” said Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said.

‘Historic Bill’

Initiating the debate, senior BJP MP Prabhat Jha said the Narendra Modi government is implementing the poll promise made by almost all Opposition parties that the poor among the upper caste will be provided with reservation in education and jobs. Terming the Bill historic, he claimed that it is yet another step from the BJP in the direction of development.

Deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma said: “This has been brought by a government which is already in departure lounge. He said the present government destroyed millions of jobs through demonetisation and a flawed GST. “You (the Centre) brought the Bill in haste before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force, thinking... let’s dangle a carrot in front of the public, show them another dream that Modi made arrangements for their children’s employment,” Sharma said. He questioned the delay in enacting the Bill to provide 33 per cent reservation for women.

SP’s leader Ram Gopal Yadav said the aim of the Bill is 2019 elections. “What is the meaning of reservation if there are no jobs,” he said adding that there are just two secretaries belonging to Scheduled Castes in the Union civil services. “Out of the 81 secretaries in the central services, just two belong to SC, two to ST and there are none from the OBC. There are 295 general secretaries in the central service and just 13 belong to OBC, 16 to SC and nine belong to ST groups,” Yadav said. He added that the representation of SC, ST and OBC communities in group A, group B and group C officers is much below their percentage of population.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said the Bill is another “Cheat India” project by the Narendra Modi government. He said the Parliament has been “completely disrespected” and a “wrong method” was adopted to bring the Bill. “The results of Assembly elections and some opinion polls forced the Centre to take such a move. “The Bill is an acknowledgement by the government that we have not created any jobs in the last five years,” O’Brien added.

The Left parties, the BSP, the RJD, the NCP, the BJD and the TDP also questioned the Centre’s “hurry.”

Published on January 09, 2019

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