Rajya Sabha Passes 10 % Reservation Bill

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The Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday, passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, which offers 10 % reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the General Category.

According to the bill, anyone with an annual income less than 8 lakhs and 5 acres of land will benefit from the bill. The bill will also help those who are Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakur,) Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars and several traders of the Kapu and Kamma communities.

The Upper House of the Parliament held a 9 hour long discussion regarding the bill, after which the bill was passed. A majority of 165 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favour of the bill, whereas 7 MPs were against the bill.

Opposition parties like the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) walked out of the Rajya Sabha, while other parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK,) the Left (the Communist Party of India [Marxism]) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demanded that a Select Committee be set up to take a final decision regarding the bill. However, the Rajya Sabha rejected the demand of a Select Committee and passed the bill.

Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, introduced the bill. He assured the citizens of India, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill will not affect the reservations provided to the SCs (Scheduled Castes,) the STs (Scheduled Tribes) and the OBC (Other Backward Classes.)

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Law Minister, who also led the debate from the Government’s side, defended and clarified the provisions of the bill.

Mr. Prasad said, “There is no 50 per cent reservation limitation in the Constitution, it was defined by the Supreme Court. In this bill, we are changing two articles on fundamental rights. We are adding a clause in the Article 15 of the Constitution in which we talk about the economically weaker sections. We will give opportunities in education to these people in private and public schools and colleges. And clause six is being added to Article 16 of the Constitution in which we are giving space to the economically weaker sections in addition to SCs and STs. The biggest feature of the bill is that the existing reservation for SC/ST and backward classes will remain untouched and it is not being changed.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and paid tribute to the makers of the Constitution of India and the leaders who supported the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019.

After the approval of the Rajya Sabha, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill will now be sent to Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, for his assent, after which the bill will become a law.



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