General category quota: Winter session extended, govt to introduce legislation; Congress supports move

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GR News Desk | New Delhi

Hours after clearing the proposal to give 10 per cent quota to economically backward upper class in government jobs and avenues of education, the government has extended the Winter Session of Parliament for a day. The session, which was initially culminating on Tuesday, will now end of January 9. The government is likely to introduce legislation in the two houses in a bid to amend the constitution to make way for an additional 10 per cent quota over and above the 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme Court.

The legislation is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

(Source: Twitter/@AmtiShah)

The move which is being seen as an attempt to appease the middle class and the upper class of the Indian demography comes just months before the Parliamentary elections. According to reports, the category will be defined by families with income (includes agricultural income as well as from profession) below Rs 8 lakh per annum, possessing agricultural land below five acre and residential house below 1,000 square feet. As for urban areas, those with residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality or residential plot below 200 yards in the non-notified municipal area.

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It is to be noted that under the new provision caste will not be a criterion for reservation. The development is being linked to the BJP’s loss in the Hindi heartland of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in the recently held legislative assembly elections.

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Reacting to the decision, Congress said that they have always supported every step to the reservation and extending support to the economically poor sections of the society bereft of caste, community or creed. “Without interfering with the mandate of the Supreme Court to Dalits, to Adivasis and backward classes in any manner, we have always supported that those, who are poor but not included in these categories, should be given the benefit of opportunities and reservation both in education and employment. We will continue to support every such step which provides opportunities as also employment to the economically weaker sections of society. The truth, however, is that after 4 years and 8 months, Modi govt has suddenly woken up to the woes of the economically poor, facing imminent defeat in the 2019 elections with only 100 days to go for polls. That itself raises questions over the intent and the bonafide of the Modi govt altogether.”

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Delhi CM and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal said, “The govt should extend Parliament session and bring constitutional amendment immediately. Else it is merely an election stunt.” AAP is supporting the centre on the issue if it goes ahead with amending the constitution before the elections. Meanwhile, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “The proposal to give 10% reservation to economically weaker upper castes is nothing more than a jumla. It is bristling with legal complications and there is no time for getting it passed thru both Houses of Parliament. Govt stands completely exposed.”

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The demand has been previously raised by minister Ramdas Athawale, who said that he has been demanding for giving reservation to upper class poor for a long time and that the decision has strengthened the people’s trust in PM Modi.