The Centre has approved a 10 percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes for the economically backward strata among the upper castes, on Monday. The reservation benefit is likely to be availed by those whose annual income is below Rs eight lakh and who have only up to five acres of land.
The government is likely to bring a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament on Tuesday. This quota will be over and above the existing 50 percent reservation and Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution will have to be amended for implementation of this decision. The Narendra Modi-led government is open to the idea of extending the ongoing Winter session of Parliament by two days to move the amendments, said reports.
Reportedly, Dalit leader Kancha Ilaiah said that he had "no problem" with the "pro-poor decision" taken by the Union Cabinet. However, the Opposition has already termed the move as 'political appeasement' before the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He said that though the Congress party has always supported every step for reservation and extending support to the economically poor sections of society bereft of caste community and creed, Modi government has suddenly woken up in last 4 years 8 months faced with imminent defeat in 2019 elections and with just 100 days left for polls. "This questions the honesty of the Modi government altogether," Surjewala said.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a press conference on Monday said that Modi government is giving reservation without creating jobs and hence it is nothing more than a "jumla".
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked why the government had not thought of this in the four years and eight months it has been in power. He also asked if NDA had the majority needed for constitutional amendments.
#Forwardreservation a gimmick 2fool ppl-c last tweet. #Balaji 50% maxima continues 2b law. #TN exception an aberration—challenge pending in sc. #modi never did 4five years+hs no majority 4ctal am. Only misleading nation. AP &Raj exceeding 50% 4jats &Muslims also struck down.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 7, 2019
Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to get the constitutional amendments passed before the general elections. “If the government passes the amendments, the Aam Aadmi Party will support it, else it will be clear that this is just an election gimmick,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that the proposal was “nothing more than a jumla [gimmick]”. “It is bristling with legal complications and there is no time for getting it passed through both Houses of Parliament,” he wrote on Twitter. “Government stands completely exposed.” Whereas, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said that the “bugle announcing the elections has well and truly sounded”.
Harish Rawat,Congress on 10% reservation approved by Cabinet for economically weaker upper castes: 'Bohot der kar di meherbaan aate aate', that also when elections are around the corner. No matter what they do, what 'jumlas' they give, nothing is going to save this Govt pic.twitter.com/PXBwWvNKTY
— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2019
Patidar leader Hardik Patel said that the decision was the government’s “last arrow” and a “lollipop” being offered by it. While, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said that, "Reservation is not to improve the financial condition. It is for representation of socially backward people. If the financial condition is to be improved, Narendra Modi should give the promised Rs 15 lakh and jobs to the people."
Meanwhile, BJP MPs Ramdas Athawale, Udit Raj and NDA ally LJP's leader Chirag Paswan welcomed the move. Athawale called the decision a “masterstroke”.
However, NCP leader Nawab Malik pointed out that this decision won't benefit the poor as the "middle class will benefit more". "If they want to give benefit to the poor, the limit should be reduced," he said. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani said that if "employment is not there what will they do with quota?"
RJD leader Manoj Jha said: "I am saying it with deep sorrow. If you see the article 15 and 16, it talks about the reservation for SC, ST, socially and back ward classes. If you want to bring such a law, you have to talk in Parliament. It's just rhetoric."
AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted that "reservations are meant to correct historical injustice" (to Dalits) and that the Constitution doesn’t permit reservations on economic grounds.
Reservations are meant to correct historical injustice to Dalits. For poverty alleviation, one may run various schemes but reservations are meant for justice.
Constitution doesn’t permit reservations on economic groundshttps://t.co/KrHNruMXse
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) January 7, 2019
Rajya Sabha MP KTS Tulsi, on the other hand, termed the decision a "joke" and accused the Modi government of trying to "fool the people". Tulsi also expressed doubts of whether the Modi government would be able to get the Constitutional amendments passed in Parliament.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2019 19:17:16 IST