Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar introduced the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The bill seeks to restore the states’ power to make their own OBC lists.
In the statement of objects and reasons, Kumar said in order to adequately clarify that the states and Union territories are empowered to prepare and maintain their own list of SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) and with a view to maintain the federal structure of this country, there is a need to amend Article 342A and make consequential amendments in articles 338B and 366 of the Constitution.
The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 inserted articles 338B, which deals with the structure, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes, and 342A that deals with the powers of the president to notify a particular caste as an SEBC and the power of Parliament to change the list. Article 366 (26C) defines SEBCs.
ON MAY 5
The Supreme Court has 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’ power to notify SEBCs for the grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
Opposition parties had accused the Centre of assaulting the federal structure by taking away the power of the states to identify and list the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
However, Kumar told the Rajya Sabha last month that the government is in consultation with legal experts and the Ministry of Law and examining ways to protect the power of the states in determining the state lists of OBCs.
The bill aims to clarify provisions in the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Bill to restore the power of states to have their own lists of backward classes after identifying them.
RS Chairman skips mention of Cong session in Quit India call by Gandhi
NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday skipped mention of the Congress session in Mumbai where Mahatma Gandhi had given the clarion call of “Do or Die” and “Quit India” in 1942 that ultimately led to India’s freedom. The House paid homage to martyrs of the Quit India movement on its 79th anniversary.
Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma reminded him that his reference didn't mention that the call was given by the Mahatma following the passage of the resolution at the historic Gowalia Tank meeting of the Congress Working Committee that had led to banning of the Congress and imprisonment of its leaders for three years.
The Chairman was quick to state: "It is a historical fact. We can include it. I have no hesitation. Let us not have controversies.
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High Political Stakes
With caste-based reservation being a politically sensitive issue, leaders of 15 opposition parties on August 9 decided to support the 127th Constitution Amendment Bill at a meeting at the office of Mallikarjun Kharge (pic), Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. However, the opposition parties are also expected to call for the removal of the 50% cap on reservations through this amendment. The Opposition is also likely to demand inclusion of caste-based census in the bill in lieu of support.
BJP eyeing UP Assembly election
The passing of the bill is expected to have a significant impact on the outcome of the 2022 UP Assembly election. The bill and the subsequent power of the BJP state govt in UP to notify their own OBC list may be the crucial factor needed to maintain a solid majority in the assembly. UP has a sizeable OBC population. In a state known for sharp political polarisation along caste lines, the ruling BJP and the opposition are vying to woo the OBC voters. The decision of the Centre allowing 27% quota for OBCs and EWS in NEET exam is seen as a move in the same direction.
FULL OPPN SUPPORT
NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday announced that 15 opposition parties resolved in a meeting on Monday morning to fully support the Constitution Amendment Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha, since it is to help out the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) constituting more than 50% population of India.
He and leaders of other parties told a press conference just before the start of the Parliament session that all will support the Constitution amendment to restore to the states the right to have their own list of the OBCs.
They pointed out that it was sheer arrogance of the government that it ignored an unanimous demand by all Opposition parties in 2018 to remove the ambiguity in the Constitutional Amendment to set up the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to take care of the OBCs.
Farmers’ Jantar Mantar stir ends; protests to continue at Delhi borders
The anti-farm law protesters culminated their demonstration at the Jantar Mantar on Monday evening after passing a ‘no confidence motion’ against the Centre and not seek permission from Delhi Police to extend the stir here any further, an office-bearer of a participant peasants' union said. However, the protests against the BJP-led Centre, which started 9 months ago, would continue at Delhi’s border points of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, an office-bearer of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a part of the SKM, said.
‘Don’t bite hand that feeds you’
New Delhi: Seeking a discussion in Parliament on the farm laws, SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal hit out at the Centre for being “insensitive” to the plight of the farmers whom she referred to as “anna dattas”. Protesting outside the Parliament during the ongoing Monsoon Session, the three-time MP said: “When annadata (farmers) are dying at the borders of the national capital, the Central govt should stop all the proceeding in Parliament and must discuss farm laws in order to stop further deaths.”
Tewari calls for no-trust vote
Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari on Monday suggested the Opposition must consider bringing a vote of a no-confidence motion against the NDA govt. As the logjam in Parliament continues over the issues including farmers’ agitation, Pegasus issue and Covid mismanagement, Congress MP tweeted, “Since NDA/BJP govt is showing a level of obduracy unwitnessed before in annals of Parliamentary Democracy by not discussing l’affaire Pegasus, Farmers agitation and Covid mismanagement joint opposition should seriously consider bringing a vote of no-confidence against the NDA/BJP Govt.”
RS returns bill to end all retrospect tax
New Delhi: A bill that aims to end all retrospective taxes imposed on indirect transfer of Indian assets was returned by Rajya Sabha on Monday amid a walkout by the Congress, TMC and DMK.
Now After the ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021’ is returned by Rajya Sabha too, all tax demands made on companies like Cairn Energy and Vodafone using a 2012 legislation on indirect transfer of Indian assets prior to May 28, 2012 will be withdrawn. Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week. Earlier, Congress, TMC and DMK walked out of the House before the bill was taken up for a discussion.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | —PTI file photo
RaGa: Sportspersons should get rewards
New Delhi: On Instagram, Rahul Gandhi posted screenshots of reports claiming Olympians in the past had not been paid the rewards announced in Haryana. He attached screenshots of tweets made in 2019 by Tokyo Games medal winners Neeraj Chopra and Bajrang Punia urging ministers and authorities to fulfil the promise of rewards for athletes after winning medals. “Players should get their dues along with congratulations, not cuts in the sports budget. Enough of video of phone calls, now hand out the amount of rewards.”
No infiltration reported at India-China border this year: Govt
No cases of infiltration have been reported at Indo-China border this year, informed the Ministry of Defence on Monday. The Ministry's response came as the reply to the unstarred question in Rajya sabha.
As per the report of Security Forces/Ministry of Home Affairs, at Indo-Pakistan Border, the number of infiltration attempts was 33, 11 infiltrators were killed and 20 infiltrators were apprehended during 2021 (till June 30, 2021).
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