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U’khand Assembly ratifies bill for extension of reservation to SC, ST in legislatures

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By ARUN PRATAP SINGH

DEHRADUN, 7 Jan: The Uttarakhand Assembly today ratified the 126th Amendment to the Constitution at a special one-day session, extending reservations for SC and ST communities till 2030. The bill was ratified, unanimously. The lone nominated MLA Greg Mann, who represents the Anglo Indian community, demanded extension of reservations in the state legislatures to the Anglo Indian community also. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Kaushik tabled the bill for discussion and ratification. He affirmed that the bill was required to ensure welfare of the underprivileged sections of society. It may be recalled that Parliament has passed the bill seeking extension of reservations to the SC and ST communities in the state legislatures for another ten years. In order for it to become an effective law, the bill needs to be ratified by at least three- fourths of the state legislatures. Given the political connotations of the bill, it is to be expected that all the state legislatures will unanimously ratify the bill. The Parliament had not sought extension of reservation for the Anglo Indian Community. It may be further recalled that as per the Constitution (126th) Amendment Bill, the reservation for SCs, STs and the Anglo-Indian community in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies was granted for 70 years when the Constitution came into being. In Uttarakhand, too, the bill was expected to be ratified unanimously and it was indeed the case, as the SC and ST communities represent a solid vote bank for the parties. However, the lone Anglo Indian MLA Greg Mann demanded extension of reservation to the Anglo Indian community as well. He pointed out that the number of community members living in the state and the country had dwindled and it was necessary to preserve their heritage, identity and culture. The Opposition members expressed support for his demand, although the bill was ultimately ratified unanimously. Under Article 334, the SC/ST and Anglo Indian communities were given reservation which ends on 25 January, 2020. There are 84 members from the Scheduled Caste and 47 from the Scheduled Tribe communities in Parliament. In state Assemblies across India, there are 614 SC members and 554 ST members. Leader of the Opposition, Dr Indira Hridayesh, PCC Chief Pritam Singh and Karan Mahra were among the speakers from the Opposition who expressed their views on the bill, while Ritu Khanduri and Munni Devi were among the Treasury Bench members who spoke on the issue. The bill was ratified late in the evening by the House.