Upper Caste 10% Quota Bill Passed in Lok Sabha; PM Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh And Sumitra Mahajan React
Prime Minister Narendra Modi | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, January 8: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill sanctioning 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to economically weaker sections among the upper castes. The legislation was tabled by Union Minister for Social Justice Thawar Chand Gehlot. Out 321 Members of Parliament (MPs) who participated in the voting, 316 voted in its favour, whereas, only five lawmakers voted against it. The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 is now scheduled to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on January 9.

After the bill was passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it as a landmark moment in the country’s history. He said, “It sets into motion the process to achieve an effective measure that ensures justice for all sections of society. The PM also thanked the MPs who supported the bill. He further added that his government is resolutely committed to the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.’ PM Modi stated, “It's our endeavour to ensure every poor person, irrespective of caste or creed gets to lead a life of dignity, & gets access to all possible opportunities.” Mayawati Slams Modi Govt Over 10 Per Cent Upper Caste Reservation, Says ‘It Is an Election Stunt and Political Gimmick’.

Meanwhile, speaking to media, speaker of the lower house, Sumitra Mahajan said that she was feeling good after the bill was passed and called it beneficial in the long run. She further added, “I felt good as my children used to ask me 'what about us, what about economically weak, will only caste matter?'. Many questions were answered today.” Rajya Sabha Session Extended by a Day to Pass 10% Upper Caste Reservation Bill.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also termed the bill as historic. He also showed confidence that the bill would be passed in the Rajya Sabha too. He said, “Those people who couldn't get the benefits of reservation till now will be benefited. It had been a demand of people since a long time. This bill has been brought in interest of the nation.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking on the bill in the lower house said that it would clear judicial scrutiny, as the Supreme Court has imposed a cap of 50 per cent on only caste-based reservations. Jaitley further added that affirmative action could be implemented on economic grounds over and above the quota sanctioned to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes

According to estimates, the Bill is expected to benefit a population of 190 million categorised under the upper castes. The eligibility criteria includes: annual household income below Rs 8 lakh, house smaller than 1,000 square feet and farmland less than 5 acres. Members of all religious communities could avail the quota benefits, the legislation states.