Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die today after passing several important bills. With this, the Monsoon Session comes to an end today.
Parliament has passed ‘The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021 with Rajya Sabha approving it today. It was passed by Lok Sabha yesterday.
The Bill is aimed at restoring the powers of the states to have their own lists of OBCs for reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Bill was adopted after a division vote with 187 members voting in favour and no member voting against it. Some amendments moved by opposition were negated by the Upper House.
The Bill was taken up a little after 12 PM that ended the three-week deadlock between the government and the opposition in the House over various issues. All parties backed the legislation but sought removal of the 50 per cent cap on reservation and many of them also called for a caste-based census.
Taking up the bill, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar said, it will help restore the powers of states to have their own lists of OBCs. He thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing the bill 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 Minister said, this will help 671 communities, almost one-fifth of the total OBCs in the country, get reservation in jobs and educational institutions. He said, this consensus approach, we are moving towards creation of history in the future. Mr.Kumar said, the Constitution amendment bill is among the series of steps taken for the welfare of OBCs and for providing them reservation.
This amendment is necessary to restore the powers of states to have their own lists of OBCs for providing reservation. he said, the OBC lists of states were removed, nearly 671 communities which were included in the state lists would not get the benefit of reservation in educational institutions and appointment of jobs. It would have affected one-fifth of the OBC communities. He said, this bill will help restore the federal structure to help towards the welfare of other backward classes.
This is the first time the House functioned normally, as opposition parties have been disrupting proceedings on several issues.
Initiating the debate on the bill, Abhishek Singhvi of Congress asked the government why it was quiet on holding a caste-based census. Mr. Singhvi said the exercise is needed because the quota for backward classes has exceeded the determined limits in many state.
Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP accused the Congress of not doing enough for the deprived sections of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes despite being in power for decades.
Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party said, states will get the right to amend the list of OBCs, but you will reap out the maximum benefit of this amendment, only when 50 per cent cap on reservation is removed. He said that for providing benefit of this amendment to the deprived classes, a caste economic census is required which would provide information about their education, kind of house pucca or kaccha and other details required for making policies and schemes.
Ram Nath Thakur of JD(U) also drew attention of the House towards vacant posts reserved for backward classes. Supporting the bill he also stressed on the need for caste economic census for making right policies and timely action for uplift of backward sections.
Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD supported the bill, but demanded a caste economic census saying figures are required for the purpose. He suggested removal of 50 per cent cap on reservation saying it is a hurdle in the way of uplift of deprived classes.
Vandana Chavan of NCP, while supporting the bill, pointed towards the 50 per cent cap on reservation saying it is posing a challenge before states for providing benefits of larger sections of deprived classes.
Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party said, if the government wants to do something for Dalits, then the 50 per cent cap on reservation must be removed.
Binoy Viswan of CPI questioned the sanctity of 50 per cent cap on reservation and also said let the states decide about this.
Elamaram of CPI(M) said that government has brought this bill out of compulsion. He raised the issue of not covering Christian Dalits under reservation.
Tiruchi Siva of DMK also made a case for removal of 50 per cent cap on reservation and caste census.
Derek O’Brien of DMK supported the Bill and appealed that the Prime Minister should be present in the House during the discussion on the Bill.
Supporting the bill, Rajmani Patel of Congress questioned the intentions of the government in providing reservations, asking for a caste-based census.
Harnath Singh Yadav of BJP said, the bill will enable the states and union territories to help to create a loss of people backward from educational and social structure.
Dr. Amar Patnaik of BJD asked to whom will this reservation be given and how many of them.
M Thambidurai of AIADMK said, in Tamil Nadu, 69 per cent reservation has been given for all communities of backward classes and scheduled classes but it has to be retained.
Intervening in the discussion, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, Parliament has given powers for everyone and there is no ambiguity in this bill and the government is committed to social justice. He said, caste census in the country is a revolutionary process and several states have already extended the reservation on its basis.
G K Vasan of TMC(M) and nominated member Narendra Jadhav also supported the bill.
A Navaneethakrishnan of AIADMK also supported the Bill saying it seeks to strengthen federal structure of the country.
P V Abdul Wahab of IUML, K Raveendra Kumar of TDP, Balwinder Singh Bhunder of SAD, Ramji of BSP, Jaiprakash Nishad of BJP, Ramdas Athawale of RPI and Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati of BJP also participated in the discussion.
The Rajya Sabha also passed ‘The General Insurance Businesss (Nationalization) Amendment Bill, 2021 by voice vote. It seeks to allow privatisation of state run General Insurance Companies. The Lok Sabah has already passed the bill.
The Upper House also passed The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Lok Sabah has already passed the bill
Earlier, when the House met for the day, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over the conduct of opposition members in the house yeserday. He described the conduct of opposition members, some of whom alighted the table in the well and raised slogans, as “sacrilege” of Parliament. He said he spent a sleepless night, as he expressed deep anguish over the conduct of opposition members.
Expressing distress over the ruckus created by opposition members in the House yesterday when a discussion on farmers’ agitation against farm bill was taken up, he said he struggled to find a provocation or reason for such a low in the “august House”.
As opposition members trooped into the well raising slogans, Mr. Naidu adjourned the house till 12 noon. He observed that everything said or done violating, hurting or destroying the sacredness of any place amounts to an act of sacrilege. Later, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned Sine Die
In the Lok Sabha, when it met at 11.00 AM, Speaker Om Birla condoled the death of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was earlier Member of Parliament and a Minister at the Centre. Obituary references were also made for the former members Nityananda Mishra from Odisha, Gopalrao Mayekar from Goa and Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury from West Bengal. Mr Birla also gave an account of the business undertaken in the Lok Sabha during this session. Later, the Lok Sabha was adjourned Sine Die.