Rajya Sabha Clears Constitutional Amendment Bill on OBCs

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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a Constitution amendment bill to restore the powers of states to have their own lists of OBCs for reservation in jobs and educational institutions.

There was no vote polled against the bill. However, the Opposition created a ruckus just as the bill was passed.

Moving the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar said the bill will help restore the powers of states to have their own lists of OBCs which was negated by the Supreme Court. He thanked the prime minister and various parties and their members for evolving a consensus to take up the important bill that seeks to create history by providing reservation to other backward classes in the country.

The Lok Sabha had on Tuesday passed the bill ending the logjam by Opposition parties, who backed the legislation but demanded the removal of the 50 per cent cap on reservation and many of them also called for a caste-based census.

The Supreme Court had dismissed the Centre’s plea seeking a review of its May 5 majority verdict that held that the 102nd Constitution amendment took away the states’ powers to notify socially and economically backward classes (SEBCs) for the grant of quota in jobs and admissions.

WHAT IT MEANS

The minister said the bill will help 671 communities, almost one-fifth of the total OBCs in the country, get reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
He said this will help restore the federal structure to help towards the welfare of other backward classes, claiming that the government had earlier made it clear during the earlier Constitution amendment that it will not affect the reservation for OBCs in states.
Kumar said the reservation of 20 per cent to OBCs in medial and dental colleges will help provide almost 4,000 additional seats in medial and dental colleges. This has helped instill confidence in OBC students, he said.

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