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Parliament clears 10% quota bill, Prez nod to make it a law: Top highlights

BS Web Team/New Delhi 10 Jan 19 | 10:37 AM

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The landmark quota Bill seeking to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weak in the general category was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, with most parties backing the measure, described by the government as "historic" and in the country's interest. 

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The Rajya Sabha yesterday passed the constitutional amendment Bill, while the Lok Sabha had passed done so on Tuesday.

Months before the Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi-led central government approved providing this quota. It will become a law as soon as President Ram Nath Kovind signs it, without the need for a ratification by state legislatures.

Here's all you need to know about the 10 per cent quota Bill for the general category:

1. What is 10% quota bill?

Considered a non-caste and non-religion-based reservation, the 10 per cent reservation Bill is expected to benefit the poorer sections of the upper caste Hindus and other religions who at present are not beneficiaries of any quota. Basically, the caste is not going to be a mandatory criterion for eligibility. 

The 10 per cent general quota Bill also seeks to provide reservation to economically weaker sections in privately owned higher educational institutions, including unaided institutions, barring minority institutions.

ALSO READ: Rajya Sabha passes 10% quota Bill, states to decide on beneficiary criteria

The 10 per cent quota provision is over and above the existing 50 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and the proposal will take the total reservation to 60 per cent after it becomes a law.  

The new reservation will not encroach upon the reservation already provided to SC/ST and OBC categories, the BJP government has assured.

2. Who benefits from the 10% quota Bill?

The quota Bill will be applicable to the economically backward among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Among the major Hindu castes to benefit from the quota Bill are, Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars, Vaishyas (trading castes) along with Patidars or Patels, Gujjars, Kappus and Kammas, depending on which caste group is listed in a state under which category. 

3. What is the criteria for the 10% quota Bill?

People earning below Rs 8 lakh per annum and possessing agricultural land below five acres and residential houses below 1,000 square feet are eligible to apply. The 10 per cent quota would be applicable in jobs of both central and state governments. It does not provide for reservation for those owning a flat of 1,000 square feet or more, land of 100 sq yards in notified municipality areas and 200 yards in non-notified areas.

ALSO READ: Victory of social justice: Modi on passage of quota bill in Rajya Sabha

4. How will 10% quota Bill be implemented?

The quota Bill will soon become a law with the President’s approval. The Bill seeks to amend Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. It seeks to add clause (6) in Article 15 to enable the state to provide reservations for economically weaker sections other than SCs, STs and OBCs.

5. Rajya Sabha discussion on quota Bill

During the debate on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, nearly all Opposition parties said PM Narendra Modi's government had pushed through quota Bill full of lacunae with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the BJP’s recent electoral losses in three Hindi heartland states had left it shaken. They cautioned that the Bill was unlikely to survive judicial scrutiny. 

ALSO READ: 'Muddled thinking': Amartya Sen on 10% quota for general category poor

The Upper House members also asked if the BJP-led Mahrashtra government’s recent efforts to provide reservation to Marathas would be part of this, and if Jats, Gujjars and Patidars would also be included in this 10 per cent quota.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot, who piloted the politically-significant Bill just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, said the legislation was aimed at uplifting the poor people.

6. Lok Sabha discussion on quota Bill

After a nearly five-hour discussion on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha passed the quota Bill with the requisite two-thirds of the members present and voting supporting the Bill — 319 members voted in favour and four against. Apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, the Congress and most other Opposition parties supported the Bill. 

ALSO READ: Modi terms quota bill as 'historic', warns against opposition rumour mills

In the Lok Sabha, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members had staged a walkout, maintaining the Constitution did not envisage reservations based on economic backwardness.

7. PM Modi terms quota Bill as 'historic', warns against Opposition rumour mills

After the passage of the quota Bill by both the Houses of Parliament, PM Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “delighted" and “glad to see such widespread support for the Bill". 

Delighted the Rajya Sabha has passed The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Glad to see such widespread support for the Bill.

The House also witnessed a vibrant debate, where several members expressed their insightful opinions.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2019

PM Modi yesterday said the 10 per cent quota for the poor in government jobs and higher education institutions is a "historic step" and allayed fears that this would cut into the existing reservation pie for the SC/ST and OBCs.

Passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament is a victory for social justice.

It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2019

"Glad to see such widespread support for the Bill. The House also witnessed a vibrant debate, where several members expressed their insightful opinions. It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India's transformation. With the passage of the bill. We pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive", Modi said in a series of tweets.

By passing The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, we pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2019

8. Opposition's uproar over the passage of the 10% quota Bill

All major parties supported the passage of the quota Bill even as Opposition raised questions about the haste shown by the government months ahead of Lok Sabha polls and about the judicial scrutiny of the new legislation.

While a few parties such as RJD and AIADMK opposed it and AAP abstained from voting on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the main Opposition party Congress and several others like SP, BSP and TMC voted in support, even as many wondered how it would benefit the people when jobs were shrinking.

ALSO READ: Lok Sabha passes quota Bill for economically weak in general category

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel termed the Bill as an "election gimmick" and expressed concern over its implementation as it was brought in haste. AAP leader Sanjay Singh, who abstained from voting, described it as stabbing a knife in the back of the common man.

9. Demand deluge

LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan demands 60% quota in private sector, judiciaryAIADMK's M Thambi Durai wants quota to be raised to 70%TRS seeks 12% quota for Muslims, 10% for STsBSP's Mayawati demands review of quotas for SC, ST and OBCs; wants in proportion of their populationSP's Ram Gopal Yadav demands OBC reservation be increased to 54%INLD's Dushyant Chautala says govt should make caste census data public10. A decision taken in haste ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls?

With the passage of the quota Bill, the ruling BJP hopes to lure the support of the upper castes as it has begun campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections. As the general elections are just a few months away, the Modi government is seen extending 10 per cent quota as a lure for votes. The "historic" announcement came after a number of setbacks the NDA regime had to suffer in the recent Assembly elections in the past few years and sections of the upper castes were upset due to BJP's aggressive push to win over backward classes and Dalits.

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