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Bill for 10% Reservation to Economically Weak Upper Castes Cleared By President

File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind.

File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and the Rajya Sabha a day later even as Opposition leaders questioned the timing, just months ahead of the 2019 general election.

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday gave his assent to the bill providing for 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category.

The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and the Rajya Sabha a day later even as leaders from Opposition parties questioned the government’s “haste” in pushing the bill through just months ahead of the 2019 general election.

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.