With the Supreme Court recently setting aside the Uttar Pradesh governments decision to provide a quota in promotions to SCs and STs in government jobs,Rajya Sabha members,cutting across the political divide,on Thursday demanded a Constitutional amendment to provide for this facility.
The BSP,led by its chief and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati,staged a walkout on the issue.
During a short-duration discussion in Rajya Sabha,members demanded the amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court order.
Opposition parties,the BJP,CPI and CPM accused the government of delaying such a crucial issue.
The Samajwadi Party and even some Congress MPs demanded a time-frame for bringing amendment to ensure reservation for SCs and STs in promotions.
After hearing the elders,Union Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seized of the matter and was willing to call an all-party meeting to build a consensus for bringing a legislation.
Narayanaswamy said the Centre launched a special drive in 2008 to fill the backlog in recruitment of officials belonging to SC,ST and OBC communities and through sustained efforts has managed to fill nearly 75 per cent of the backlog.
Pointing out that efforts had been made 4-5 times by previous governments to bring an amendment to provide more privileges to SCs,STs and OBCs but they were stuck down by the courts,Narayanasamy admitted much more was needed to be done for empowering the weaker sections of society.
Intervening in the discussion,Law and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the government was committed to empowering all backward communities and provide them reservation in government jobs in proportion to their population.
Khurshid said the primary restriction of 50 per cent maximum limit for reservation in jobs for SCs,STs and OBCs ties the hands of the government in doing much for them in proportion to their population.