Quota for poor: BJP pushes bill; opposition resists

The Modi government has introduced in Rajya Sabha legislation to give 10% quota in public sector jobs and educational institutions for poor, the passage of which the Congress-led opposition tried to delay

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Solapur/New Delhi: The passage of the bill that provides 10% quota for the poor in the general category in jobs and education is a “strong answer” by Parliament to those spreading lies on the move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here Wednesday.

Addressing a public rally in Maharashtra, Modi hoped the bill is passed in Rajya Sabha by members respecting the public opinion.

On the passage of the Citizenship Bill which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangaldesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Modi said, “I want to assure the people of Assam and North East that their rights will not be hurt after passage of the bill.”

Before addressing the public meeting, Modi launched the four-laning of Solapur-Osmanabad section of NH-211, underground sewerage system and three sewage treatment plants and laid foundation stone of 30,000 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

The government Wednesday introduced in Rajya Sabha a legislation to give 10% quota in public sector jobs and educational institutions for upper caste poor.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot introduced The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019 amid slogan shouting by opposition Congress over the citizenship amendment bill.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and was brought to the Upper House after the sitting of the House was extended by a day.

Congress members wanted Home Minister Rajnath Singh to first come to the House and make a statement on the bill that provides non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan Indian citizenship.

Opposition can’t oppose but resists quota bill

The Congress and other opposition parties on Wednesday strongly protested in the Rajya Sabha and demanded that The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 be sent to a select committee after the government introduced the key legislation.

The bill, that seeks to provide 10% quota or reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically weaker sections in the general category, was introduced by Minister for Social Welfare and Empowerment Thaawar chand Gehlot amid the din due to protests by opposition members.

The Congress, DMK, RJD and Aam Aadmi Party were in the well of the house and continued to raise slogans against the government.

Sensing the mood, Deputy Chairman Harivansh adjourned the house till 2 PM while the discussion on the bill was on.

DMK member Kanomozhi demanded that the Constitution amendment bill be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny and sought division on her motion. Her demand was supported by members of some parties including D Raja (CPI), with Congress also asking the deputy chairman to take up her plea first and allow division on her motion.

But, deputy chairman Harivansh said it will only be taken up after the discussion, prompting the opposition members to raise further slogans.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel accused the opposition of seeking to stall the passage of the bill that has been brought for the welfare of the poor.

This was strongly opposed, with Congress member Anand Sharma saying his party supported the bill, and Manoj Jha (RJD) stating the charge was incorrect and that the bill was “interference with the basic structure of the Constitution”.

Sharma alleged that Goel has not done justice by making the charge as the Congress was in favour of the bill but had issues with the manner in which it was brought.

After the deputy chairman allowed the minister to move the bill amid the din, he heard various members raising points of order, but refrained from giving any ruling.

Congress member Madhusudan Mistry raised a point of order saying the bill was incomplete as the statement of objectives were not there. He asked what was the urgency of the government in bringing this bill in such haste.

The deputy chairman said Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had already granted two-day exemption for introducing the bill and the same should be taken up.

The government Wednesday introduced in Rajya Sabha a legislation to give 10% quota in state jobs and educational institutions for upper caste poor.

Social Justice minister Gehlot said the bill was a historic bill and a step brought to ensure equal opportunities for the poor in the general category. He said previous governments have attempted to bring such a step but their actions have been struck down by court as there was no such provision made in the Constitution.

Gehlot: Quota bill

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot introduced The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019

Gehlot said it was under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that this bill was brought to make such a provision for quota/reservation for economically weaker sections.

“This decision has not been taken in haste. It is brought with good intention keeping in view the welfare of the poor in general category people,” the minister said.

Seeking passage of the bill, Gehlot said this day will be remembered as an important one when crores of poor will benefit from this legislation that seeks to ensure equality and social harmony in the country.

The Congress members earlier also raised slogans over the citizenship amendment bill.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and was brought to the Upper House after the sitting of the House was extended by a day.

Congress members, including Ripun Bora, wanted Home Minister Rajnath Singh be called to the House to make a statement on the citizenship bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Goel said the same could be done at 2 PM.