Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday praised the passage of the quota bill which seeks to allow 10% reservation for economically backward upper castes.
The bill, passed in the Lok sabha with 323 of 326 members voting in favour of it, will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Rajya Sabha Winter Session was extended by a day for this reason.
Modi said the passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Lower House was a landmark moment in the country’s history. “It sets into motion the process to achieve an effective measure that ensures justice for all sections of society,” he said on Twitter.
He thanked the legislators across parties for supporting the bill. “We are resolutely committed to the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ [development for all, together]. It is our endeavour to ensure that every poor person, irrespective of caste or creed gets to lead a life of dignity, and gets access to all possible opportunities,” he added.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the bill will be “very beneficial in the long run”. “I felt good as my children used to ask me ‘what about us, what about the economically weak, will only caste matter?’” she told ANI.
Union minister Rajnath Singh said the historic bill was brought in in the interest of the nation. “Those people who couldn’t get the benefits of reservation till now will be benefited,” he told reporters. “It had been a demand of people since a long time... I am sure that it the bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha also.”
Several Opposition parties, including the Congress, Shiv Sena, and the National Congress Party have supported the bill, but have accused the Centre of introducing it with the General Elections in mind. Polls are expected to be held later this year.
During the discussion on the bill in the Lok Sabha, Congress MP KV Thomas claimed that the Centre has been hasty in introducing the bill. Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay wondered whether the bill will solve the problem of unemployment. Union minister Arun Jaitley had said that the manifestos of most political parties promised quotas to economically weaker sections of the society. “Their commitment to their promise is put to test today,” he said.