What Is The News?
- The Constitution (124th amendment) Bill, 2019 was approved by the Parliament. It guarantees 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of general category candidates.
- The reservation will be applicable for education and employment opportunities provided by Central and State governments.
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill amends Article 15 and Article 16 of the Constitution to provide 10% quota for EWS of general category.
- Article 15 of the constitution enables the government to make special provisions for candidates from SC, ST and other backward classes to attain education in Central and State government facilities for their advancement. The amendment now allows the government to provide 10% quota for EWS of general category for their educational advancement.
- Article 16 of the constitution allows reservation in government employment for SC, ST and other backward classes. The Amendment now allows an additional 10% reservation in government employment for EWS of general category.
- The 10% reservation in the amendment bill is in addition to the already existing reservation quota for SC, ST and other backward classes.
- The Bill enables the state governments to decide who are EWS from general category in their respective states.
Who are Eligible for EWS Quota?
- People who are not covered under existing quota.
- People whose family income is below Rs. 8 lakh per year.
- Those who have agricultural land below 5 acres.
Who are not eligible?
- People who posses a 1000-square feet house or a 100-yard plot or above in a notified municipal area.
- People with 200-yard plot or above in non-notified municipal area.
- The amendment has to pass the test of judicial scrutiny as the Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case capped the quotas at 50% of all the available seats.
- If the Supreme Court rejects extending the cap, the government has to give the quota to EWS candidates from the existing 50% cap. This leads to major social and political implications.
- If the SC accepts the amendment, then candidates from the upper castes stand to lose in state services.
- Implementation of the quota will be tougher than said.
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- A constitution amendment bill is passed by a special majority of both the houses where two-thirds of the members are present and voting and the strength of the house should not be less than 1/2 of the total strength. Also, half of the states will have to ratify the amendment.