Parliament passes OBC reservation Bill

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New Delhi, Dec 18: With the Rajya Sabha passing the OBCReservation Bill by voice vote, Parliament today approved the Billproviding for reservation in admission for students belonging to theOther Backward Classes to institutions maintained or aided by theCentral government.

The Bill had already been passed in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The Bill titled The Central Educational Institutions (Reservationsin Admission) Bill, 2006 and piloted by Human Resources DevelopmentMinister Arjun Singh, was passed in Rajya Sabha. A BJP demand for adivision in votes was not accepted by the Chair as they had sought itafter Deputy Chairman K Rehman Khan had announced passage of the Bill.

Two amendments moved by Mr S S Ahluwalia (BJP) for providingreservation for minority-run institutions were negated by 93-24 votes,paving way for the passage of the Bill.

Replying to the discussion, Mr Singh said the passage of the Billwas a major historic step in nearly six decades of history afterindependence in providing the reservation benefits for the studentsbelonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other BackwardClasses in certain educational institutions established or maintainedor aided by the Central Government.

The Bill prescribed an outer limit of three years for all theseinstitutions to accomodate these sections of students and thegovernment will leave no stone unturned to provide resources forupgrading their infrastructure to achieve the goal.

He said it was not possible to bring minority-run institutions orthe unaided private institutions in the Bill's orbit. The Government,he said, would soon come out with a Bill to provide reservation for theOBCs. However, to ensure that this Bill was complied by minority-runinstitutions, it was not immediately possible as it would require anamendment to the Constitution.

Stating that India was a mix of ancient civilisation and only 60 yearsof modernity, Mr Singh said this Bill was only a 'small step' inrecognising the changing needs and circumstances and correct the pastmistakes as envisioned by the makers of the Constitution. He saidreversal of right steps was neither feasible nor practical and theobjective was to take everyone along the mainstream for a prosperousfuture.

Mr Ahluwalia pressed for his amendments to bring the minority-runinstitutions into the ambit and make them comply with the law.

It was for this very reason that the BJP had objected at the stageof amending the Constitutional provision in Parliament. The Governmenthad disregarded the Opposition's objections.

He said that if the OBC students were to go only to governmentcolleges and not St Stephens or Christian Medical College or theinstitutions run by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, it was notfair. ''The Government is telling OBC students to throng around onlyBenaras Hindu University (BHU) and not Aligarh Muslim University. Isthis fair?'' he asked.

Mr Ahluwalia's amendments were negated by 24-93 votes.

Eds: here pick up suitably from earlier series.


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