The bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha yesterday with unanimous support from the opposition members. It will now be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.
During the discussion on the bill, some opposition members in the upper house stressed on the need to remove the 50 per cent cap on reservation and caste census to reap out the maximum benefits.
Participating in a debate on the bill, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said, “State will get 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 also stated 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.
Yadav told the House that speculation is rife that after passage of the bill, state governments would remove three communities – Yadavs, Kurmis and Gujjars from the list of OBCs in Uttar Pradesh.
He also pointed out towards vacancies in the educational institutions and said that as of August 1, 2020, against the 313 OBC reserved posts of professors in 40 central universities, only nine were filled.
He further gave number of vacant posts reserved for OBCs in other such educational institutions.
Echoing similar views, Ram Nath Thakur of the JD(U) also drew attention of the House towards vacant posts reserved for backward classes.
He supported the bill and also stressed on the need for caste economic census for making right policies and timely action for uplift of backward sections.
Similarly, Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) supported the bill, but demanded a caste economic census saying figures are required for the purpose.
He also pitched for removal of 50 per cent cap on reservation saying it is a hurdle in the way of uplift of deprived classes.
Supporting the bill, Vandana Chavan of the NCP 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 (AAP) said, “If you really want to do something for Dalits, then remove 50 per cent cap on reservation. This bill will remain an eyewash, if 50 per cent cap it not removed.”
He alleged that the government has brought the bill keeping in view forthcoming assembly elections.
On reservation cap, Binoy Viswan (CPI) asked what is the sanctity of 50 per cent cap on reservation and also said that the states must decide about this.
He said, “I support this bill.”
CPM leader Elamaram said that government has brought this bill out of compulsion. He raised the issue of not covering Christian Dalits under reservation.
DMK leader Tiruchi Siva also made a case for removal of 50 per cent cap on reservation and caste census.
Supporting the bill, Congress leader Rajmani Patel said that the country has a 52 per cent population of OBCs and questioned the intentions of the government in providing reservations, asking for a caste-based census.
BJP leader Harnath Singh Yadav said the bill will enable the states and union territories to help to create a loss of people backward from educational and social structure.
BJD member Amar Patnaik also supported and said, “There are two questions here – who to give it to, who is the person, who is OBC to give this particular benefit and second how many people and what is the size of this OBC who has to be given that.”
He said that adding any type of policy planning requires such information.
AIDMK member M Thambidurai said, “In Tamil Nadu, 69 per cent reservation has been given for all communities of backward class and scheduled class but it has to be retained. I request the central government to take necessary action to give the effect because there is a rule that it can not cross 50 per cent reservation. Center must come forward to enable that…”
Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Parliament has given powers for everyone and there is no ambiguity in this bill and the government is committed to social justice.
Caste census in the country is a revolutionary process and several states have already extended the reservation on its basis, he added.
G K Vasan (TMC-M) and nominated member Narendra Jadhav also supported the bill.
(With inputs from PTI)