The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday tabled a Constitutional amendment bill in Lok Sabha in order to implement the 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the “poor” in upper castes. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, tabled the bill. Now, the bill will be taken up for discussion in the House.
In a major decision that may have a huge bearing on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Modi cabinet had Monday approved 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the economically weak in upper castes (general category). However, the reservation to the economically weaker sections of the general castes can be given only after a constitutional amendment as the proposed bill will exceed the Supreme Court’s 50 per cent quota cap for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the Other Backward Castes (OBCs).
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday issued a whip, asking its parliamentarians to be present in the Lower House where the bill will be tabled. The government has also extended the Winter Session by a day in order to bring the proposed legislation in the Rajya Sabha. The Winter Session of Parliament began on December 11 and was to end on January 8. According to reports, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has given his nod to extend the proceedings of the House till January 9.
However, the Modi government has decided to increase the reservation quota from the existing 50 per cent to 60 per cent. The reservation for economically backward in general category will be over and above the existing 50 pc reservation. The decision to provide reservation in jobs to economically weaker sections was taken during a Cabinet meeting headed by the prime minister.
The decision, which comes less than three months before the Lok Sabha elections, is considered to be a game changer and may have a huge bearing on polls. A section of people has long been demanding reservation based on the economic condition in place of the current caste-based system.
The move will also help the government to deal with the growing demands by several communities that they be shifted to other backward classes (OBCs) in order to get reservations in jobs and education. Currently, the OBCs have 27 per cent reservation in government jobs and education.