The 10% reservation will be over and above the 50% reservation stipulated by Supreme Court
New Delhi: A bill to provide 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to general category candidates who belong to economically weaker sections, is being discussed and will be voted upon in the Lok Sabha this evening. Ahead of the general elections, the government is hoping to push through the bill, which, in a first, will extend reservation to upper castes. The bill is expected to sail smoothly through the Lok Sabha, where the government is in majority. It also will have a chance in Rajya Sabha, where several opposition parties, including the Congress, indicated they would support it. The Rajya Sabha session has been extended till Wednesday. Following are the latest developments:
- Union minister Vijay Goel told NDTV, "If the bill gets passed in Lok Sabha today, we will table it in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. We will try to pass the 10 per cent quota bill in this session".
- The bill is expected to benefit a huge section of upper castes including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars, and several trading castes including Kapus and Kammas. The economically deprived among poor among the other religions will also benefit.
- The Congress is supporting the bill despite some reservations about its timing. The party contends that the government's move is an election gimmick. Most opposition parties have expressed similar views.
- Uttar Pradesh leaders Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will also support the bill. "Our party welcomes the decision though it appears to be an election stunt and political gimmick of BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls," Mayawati said in a statement.
- Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party also backed the move, but demanded more quota for Other Backward Classes. "If the government is crossing the lakshman rekha (50 per cent Supreme Court limit), then OBCs should be given 54% quota," said party leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
- Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has been cautious. "I will be very happy if the weaker sections get the job. But my question is, in the name of so called election, can a government cheat the people or cheat the unemployed youth," she said.
- In Bihar, Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal said they are opposed to the quota bill, as the government did not consult any parties before tabling it. Also there is no fresh data on demography and If 10% reservation is given to the general category, then quota for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and the Other Backward Classes should be raised to 85%, the party contended.
- The Telangana Rashtra Samithi has demanded amendments in the bill.
- The constitution amendment bill will have to be passed with two-thirds majority in each house. Because the constitution does not provide for reservation on the ground of economic conditions, amendment of the constitutional is required.
- The 10 per cent reservation will be over and above the 50 per cent reservation stipulated by the Supreme Court. Any reservation above the 60 per cent mark will invite judicial scrutiny.