File photo. Photograph:( AFP )
Prasad said that it was decided to provide reservations to SCs and STs in proportion to their population in state assemblies
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday took up for discussion a Bill to extend the reservation for SCs and STs in the Lower House and state assemblies by ten years with Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urging the members to pass the legislation unanimously to convey its commitment to ensuring the welfare of these sections.
Moving the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019, for passage in the Lok Sabha, Prasad said that the Constitution makers had thought it necessary to give political reservation to SCs and STs. The Bill seeks to extend the reservation in legislatures by ten years.
Prasad said that there was also a provision of reservation for Anglo-Indians but the government had not brought it to the House and "was deliberating on it".
According to the 2011 census, there were 296 members of the Anglo-Indian community, the minister said.
With opposition members raising questions on the government's move, Prasad said that the Congress in the past had ended concessions given to them in postal department and railways.
He said opposition members should do their "homework" before raising an issue. "We have not closed the doors," the minister said.
Prasad said that it was decided to provide reservations to SCs and STs in proportion to their population in state assemblies.
The minister outlined that the reservation was given to make up for the discrimination these communities had suffered due to prevalent social evils in the Hindu community. "If they faced discrimination for historical reasons, it is the constitutional duty of Parliament (to provide reservation)," he said.
Prasad informed the House that 84 of 543 seats in Lok Sabha were reserved for SCs and 47 for STs. In states, he said, 614 of 4,120 seats were reserved for SCs.
The minister said the SC population was 20.6 crore and ST population was 10.45 crore, according to 2011 census.
Prasad noted that there was a need for the Bill to be brought as the reservation for SCs and STs will end on January 25, 2020.