Rajya Sabha okays 10 per cent reservation to poor in general category, PM Modi calls it 'victory of social justice'

The Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had informed the Upper House that the 10 per cent reservation to poor in general category will be applicablee in central and state government jobs.

Published: 09th January 2019 10:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2019 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

Winter session, parliament

Flowers blossom at Parliament house during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi Tuesday Jan 8 2019. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Barely three days after it was unveiled, a bill to provide 10 per cent reservation in education and jobs to the poor in the general category got Parliament’s approval on Wednesday, with 165 ayes and 7 nays in the Rajya Sabha. The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill is now a step away from becoming law, as it awaits President Ram Nath Kovind’s approval. The Lok Sabha had passed it on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narandra Modi described the passage of the bill — that came all of a sudden and sailed over the ropes like a ‘slog over six’ — as a victory for social justice. The near- eight-hour debate began with an Opposition uproar when Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot sought to introduce the bill. They accused the Centre of bringing it for political benefit ahead of the general elections.


However, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back, claiming the UPA II had a similar proposal but failed to take it to its logical conclusion. The new quota will be valid for Central and state government jobs, though states would be free to define their cut-off, he said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the bill was brought in haste to beat the Model Code of Conduct, “thinking if not two crore (jobs), then let’s dangle a carrot in front of the public, show them another dream that Modiji made arrangements for their children’s employment”.

He and other Congress leaders accused the government of not taking the Opposition into confidence. “There is no consent. The situation is such that there is no dialogue between the Opposition and the government,” Sharma added.

The Bill was approved after the House rejected a motion moved by Kanimozhi (DMK) and supported by Left parties for sending it to a parliamentary select committee for scrutiny.

Against 18 members supporting, 155 opposed it and one member abstained.

The Bill was approved after the House rejected 5 amendments moved by Opposition members.

EDITORIAL | Timing of new quota bill gives away its real intent 

While the Opposition criticised the government for extending the session to take up the bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reminded them that the House was adjourned on most working days, when the country expected Parliament to function.

DMK member Kanimozhi moved a motion to send the bill to a Select Committee. Her motion was backed by the Left, TDP, RJD, AAP and JD(S), but not by SP and BSP, exposing fracture in opposition unity. In the end, her motion was voted out as it had just 18 ayes.

The House was briefly adjourned during the first half as the Congress, too, sought to send it to a Select Committee.

It was MGR who first mooted this

In 1979, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran announced that his government intended to bring reservations for the ‘economically backward among forward communities’

Claiming that it would be implemented from 1981, MGR assured that the move would not affect the quota reserved for Backward Classes. However, the proposal did not see the light of day

Historians say electoral defeats in 1980 in Puducherry House and Lok Sabha and stiff opposition from DMK made MGR change his mind





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