PATNA: The Constitutional Amendment for 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the general category was on Monday ratified by Bihar Assembly amid protests by MLAs of the main Opposition party RJD.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the passage of the Bill in the Assembly as a “historic day” for the state and said a notification would be issued soon after rules are framed on the criteria for consideration of EWS.
He clarified that the 10 per cent quota would not affect the existing 50 per cent reservation already available for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes.
After taking legal opinion, the state government had decided last month to roll out the new 10 per cent quota by introducing a separate Bill in the ongoing budget session instead of issuing an executive order to implement it.
The move was widely seen as a ploy to corner RJD on the emotive issue as the party had opposed the Constitutional Amendment Bill in parliament and has been calling it “poorly planned and utterly improper”.
“This Bill should have been passed unanimously. I know half of them (RJD legislators) are in favour of it, but they are protesting for the sake of it because they have been instructed from Ranchi,” said Nitish Kumar. RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav is currently lodged in jail following his conviction in fodder scam cases.
RJD legislators, however, pointed out they are not against the 10 per cent reservation for the economically weak in the general category population, but against the way this new reservation was being introduced.
“We oppose this new reservation because it is poorly planned and utterly improper. It is not backed sufficient data on the population of different caste groups in the country. This is why we have been demanding publication of the report of the Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011,” said senior RJD legislator Bhai Birendra.
He said RJD wants a nationwide caste census in 2011 and allotment of quotas on the basis of the population of different caste groups.