New Delhi: The government on Monday extended the ongoing Winter Session of the Rajya Sabha by a day will Wednesday in its bid to push through a Constitutional amendment bill to provide 10 per cent job and education quota for “economically weaker” sections.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has agreed to the government’s request and extended the proceedings by a day. The Winter Session, that started on December 11, was to end on Tuesday, January 8.
In what is seen as the Narendra Modi government’s biggest electoral card ever since it came to power in 2014, the Union Cabinet on Monday afternoon approved a 10 per cent job and education quota for “economically weaker” sections, meeting a key demand of upper castes.
The government now seeks to bring a constitutional amendment bill in this regard in Lok Sabha on Tuesday and in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, for which the session has been extended.
With the Congress and some other parties already extending their support to a legislation to provide jobs for the economically weaker sections, the bill is likely to see through in the lower house and will be taken up the next day in Rajya Sabha.
The decision by the government came has been a key demand of the upper castes, a staunch BJP support base which has shown signs of a drift from the party.
Also, it comes at a time when the saffron party lost three crucial states – Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – at the hands of the Congress in the recently-concluded assembly polls and is facing challenge of the Congress-led grand alliance.
The proposed reservation will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60 per cent.
The constitutional amendment bill would be required as the constitution does not provide for reservation on the ground of economic conditions. It envisages amendment to Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution.