President gives assent to bill for 10% quota to economically weak

President Ram Nath Kovind today gave his assent to the bill providing for 10% reservation in education and government jobs for economically weak from upper castes. The Constitution (103rd) Amendment Act was cleared by both Houses of Parliament this week even as leaders from Opposition parties questioned the Union government’s “haste” in pushing the bill through just months ahead of the 2019 general election.

The 10 per cent quota covers nearly 190 million people from the general category and is seen as an effort by the BJP-led national coalition to reach out to upper caste groups and once-dominant agrarian communities such as the Patidars, Jats, Gujjars and Marathas who have been lobbying for reservation

A notification in the official gazette stated that the legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and that it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies. The 10 per cent reservation will be in addition to the existing 50 per cent reservation given to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60 per cent. Among the sections it targets are the poor among the upper castes.

General category individuals, all members of whose family together earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum, and who have less than five acres of agricultural land, will qualify. The quota covers nearly 190 million people from the general category and is seen as an effort by the BJP to reach out to upper caste groups as the Patidars, Jats and Marathas, who have been lobbying for reservation. A petition against the bill has already been filed in the Supreme Court.

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