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Government Introduces Quota Bill For Upper Castes in Lok Sabha

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another "election gimmick" to garner votes

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The government on Tuesday introduced a Constitution amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to provide 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections in the general category in government jobs and higher educational institutions.

The introduction of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot was a smooth affair in the House with no member raising any objection.

The Bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday with an eye on the upper castes vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, seeks to amend Articles 15 and 16 under whose present provisions the benefits of the existing reservations are generally not available for the economically weaker sections of the forward castes.

The statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill said that the economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from attending the higher educational institutions and public employment on account of their financial incapacity to compete with those persons who are economically more privileged.

The benefits of existing reservations under clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 and clause (4) of Article 16 are generally unavailable to them unless they meet the specific criteria of social and educational backwardness, it said.

The directive principles of State policy contained in Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Quota Bill for upper castes introduced in Lok Sabha.

Under the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005, clause (5) was inserted in Article 15 of the Constitution which enables the State to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, in relation to their admission in higher educational institutions.

Similarly, clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution enables the State to make special provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

However, the statement of the objects and reasons said the economically weaker sections of citizens were not eligible for the benefit of reservation.

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“With a view to fulfil the mandate of Article 46, and to ensure that economically weaker sections of citizens to get a fair chance of receiving higher education and participation in employment in the services of the State, it has been decided to amend the Constitution of India,” it said.

Accordingly, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private institutions aided or unaided by the State other than the minority educational institutions referred to in article 30 of the constitution and also provides for reservation for them in posts in initial appointment in services under the State, the government said in a statement.

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another “election gimmick” to garner votes. (IANS)

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Women Representation in Lok Sabha as Low as 12 Percent

None of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House.

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Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha. Pixabay

Slogans of various political parties about empowering Indian women in politics seem to have remained just lip service, if one goes by the statistics.

The case in point is that in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha, there were only 66 women members out of the total House strength of 543, which makes it just 12 per cent.

This is the situation 67 years after the first general elections.

Had the long-pending legislative proposal to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha been passed, it could have ensured at least 179 female members in the Lower House of Parliament.

In the first Lok Sabha formed in 1952, there were 24 women. The number did not change in the second Lok Sabha formed in 1957.

The number increased when the third Lok Sabha (1962-67) was formed with 37 women, according to data available on the Lok Sabha website.

There was a decrease in the numbers in the fourth, fifth and sixth Lok Sabha where 33, 28 and 21 women were elected respectively.

The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected.

When the Lok Saha was elected in 1989 for the ninth time, the number of women dropped to 28.

Since then, there has been a minor but constant increase in the number of females.

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The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected. 
Pixabay

The 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96) had 42 female members and the 11th was one less.

The 12th had 44 female MPs, while the 13th and 14th saw equal numbers at 52 females of the total 543 members.

The 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14) saw a major increase: it touched 64 females — about 12 per cent of the total House strength.

The 16th – the outgoing – Lok Sabha had 66 female MPs, two more than the previous term.

Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha.

Congress’ Meira Kumar was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009 and served till 2014. Then, Sumitra Mahajan of BJP became the second female to preside over the 16th Lok Sabha.

Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. – wikimedia commons

The political parties have been promising 33 per cent reservation to females in legislatures a number of times.

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The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. The BJP too made the promise in 2014 and now. The Communist Party of India-Marxist also promised the reservation in its manifestos in 1999, 2009 and 2019.

But none of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House. (IANS)