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Modi Govt pushes OBC bill to Rajya Sabha again with 100 percent voting in LS

Last Modified Friday, 3 August 2018 (13:10 IST)
New Delhi: Seeking to give right message to the Backward Classes, the Modi government yet again mustered the nod of the House of the People for the Bill that would grant constitutional status to the National Commission on (NCBC) at par with other such bodies.
 
The passed The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill with 406 members voting in favour of it and there was no negative vote.
 
Now, the will enjoy the par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
 
The Bill will now again go to the Rajya Sabha, which had last year passed it with certain amendments.
 
The decision of the had made it mandatory for the Lok Sabha to take up the Bill yet again on Thursday.
 
Piloting the Bill, at the end of four-hour debate, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said the clause three of the Bill remains the heart and soul of the draft law and the government was committed to the welfare of the backward classes.
 
He said the government has accepted the amendment carried out by the House of Elders and under the new law, it will be mandatory to have a woman member in the Commission.
 
However, Mr Gehlot said the amendment to involve a particular religious community cannot be accepted as it is against the spirit of the Constitution.
 
The Lok Sabha has earlier passed the Bill on April 10, 2017.
 
In the Rajya Sabha on July 31, 2017, when the Bill was taken up for voting, the government had suffered embarrassment as only 52 MPs had voted in favour of the treasury bench and against an amendment moved by Congress MP Digvijaya Singh.
 
The Congress leader's amendment seeking a woman and a religious minority member to be included in the Commission, was supported by 74 MPs while only 52 opposed it.
 
In the Lok Sabha proceedings on Thursday, the amendment moved by BJD Member Bhartruhari Mahtab was rejected by the House in Division vote with 302 against 85.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were present among others during the voting.
 
Giving the break-up of the vote, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said while no one voted against, 406 members supported the new version of the Bill which had ''amendments as carried out by Rajya Sabha and further amendments moved by the government''.
 
She said the Constitutional Amendment Bill is considered to be passed by the House as under Rule 368, more than requisite number of members have approved it.
 
During the debate, there was general consensus in favour of the Bill, but the BJD MP Mr Mahtab said there should be provision under which recommendations of the state governments in naming the caste groups as beneficiaries should be upheld.
 
Congress member T Sahu said it was erroneous on the part of BJP to constantly accuse the Congress of stalling the Bill.
 
Union Food Minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan lamented that during the no-trust debate on July 20, Congress president Rahul Gandhi should have spoken on issues concerning Backward Classes.
 
The complex matter of blame game between the Congress and the BJP also figured later when the minister Mr Gehlot was replying.
 
Amid interruptions from the Congress members, including Mallikarjun Kharge, the Minister wanted to know why such decision was taken by the UPA government in its 10 years of office.
 
The BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Modi have been accusing the Congress of stalling the Bill in the Rajya Sabha and said the principal opposition party was giving only lip service about the welfare of the Backward Classes.
 
The NCBC set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion of groups within the list of backward classes, and advise the central government in this regard.
 
The new Bill seeks to empower the panel with the authority to examine complaints and suggest welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes. (UNI)
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