Updated: January 8, 2019 10:32:16 pm
The Lok Sabha Tuesday passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 with 323 members voting in favour, to make way for 10 per cent reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the general category in government jobs and avenues of education. The bill, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha, was cleared by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet on Monday.
The bill will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The government has extended the winter session for Rajya Sabha by one more day to get the bill passed.
The bill received support from almost all of the opposition parties, including the Congress, BSP and the SP, who while extending their support, questioned the timing of the bill just 100 days before the parliamentary elections. Defending the bill in the Lower House, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “It says won’t disturb the already existing quota system, the bill is to provide economic justice.”
He added that the bill will strengthen the Economically Weaker Sections of the general category. In a light-hearted jibe, Jaitley also targeted opposition parties, including CPI(M) saying that India is the first country where communists are not happy when poor people are being empowered. Jaitley asked Congress to support the bill whole-heartedly without holding any grudges.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the Bill and said, “This is a fraud on Constitution and insult on Babasaheb Ambedkar. Our Constitution doesn’t recognise economically-backward. Have the savarnas ever faced untouchability? There is no empirical data to show the savarna people are backward.”
West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said it will be good if people in the EWS category get jobs due to this reservation but questioned whether the government is “cheating” the people. Maintaining that the Supreme Court has put a 50-per cent cap on quota, she said, “We want proper implementation. We should not cheat the youth for election and political purpose…. They (Centre) have to clarify whether it will be implemented, whether it is Constitutional, whether it is legally valid, and whether it is feasible.”
With the passage of the bill, Lok Sabha was adjourned Sine Die marking the end of the winter session in the lower house.
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