A day after the Lok Sabha approved the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Rajya Sabha passed the law with 165 voting in favour and 7 against.
All major parties supported the passage of a bill for providing 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections, 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.
The Bill has fixed an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh and not owning more than five acres of agricultural land as criteria for defining economically weaker section in the general category for availing of the reservation in educational institutions as well as government jobs.
The 10 percent reservation will be over and above the reservation for SC/STs and OBCs.
It does not provide for quota for those owning a flat of 1,000 square feet or more, land of 100 sq yards in notified municipality area and 200 yards in non-notified area.
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.
In the last leg of the legislative process, the bill will now go to the President for approval.
RJD, AIADMK oppose Bill; AAP, CPI walk out
While few parties such as RJD and AIADMK opposed it and AAP abstained from the voting on the bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the main opposition party Congress and several others including SP, BSP and TMC voted in support, even as many wondered how it will benefit the people when jobs were shrinking.
The CPI and the AAP staged a walkout when voting on the bill was taken up in the House. As soon as the bill was introduced in the House, DMK member Kanomozhi demanded sending the bill to a select committee for further scrutiny. Her demand was supported by members of several parties, including Raja.
The motion was rejected, following which the CPI and the AAP walked out of the House.
PM Modi hails passage of Bill
Applauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the entire Union Cabinet for passage of the bill by Parliament, BJP chief Amit Shah thanked members of all parties who supported the bill in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday.
Union Finance Minister and Leader of House in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said this endeavour of the Modi government ensures social justice and empowerment for all.
Echoing similar sentiments, Union minister Smriti Irani said it was a historic day and we all have become a part of constitutional history of the country. She questioned why opposition did not bring such constitutional security for the poor.
Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, who tabled the bill in the Rajya Sabha, said in the next few days the government will conclude all formalities for the implementation of the bill.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel termed the bill as an “election gimmick” and expressed concern over its implementation as it was brought in haste.
“The government has not done any homework for this important legislation and I am worried about its implementation,” Patel said.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh, who abstained from the voting, described it as stabbing knife in back of common man.
(With PTI inputs)