President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday gave his assent to the bill providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category, a notification in the official gazette said. The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and the Rajya Sabha a day later.
The notification said the legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and that it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies.
Though opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha backed the bill, it targeted the BJP-led government, accusing it of bringing the bill “in a haste” with the Lok Sabha elections in mind. Hitting back at the charges, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said “sixes are hit in the slog overs” of a cricket match and “more sixes will come”.
After Rajya Sabha voted 165-7 in favour of the bill — meeting the requirement of a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting for effecting a constitutional amendment — Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he was “delighted” and “glad to see such widespread support for the Bill”. He called it “a victory for social justice”.
The 10 per cent reservation will be in addition to the existing cap of 50 per cent reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60 per cent. Among the sections it targets are the poor among the upper castes.
The quota is targeted at economically weaker sections among the upper castes. General category individuals, all members of whose family together earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum, and who have less than five acres of agricultural land, will qualify.