The UPA Government will on Wednesday table in the Rajya Sabha a bill to allow reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has disrupted the parliamentary proceedings over the last few days, has accused the government of trying to divert attention from the coal blocks allocation issue.
Lawmakers belonging to lower castes had earlier on Tuesday hailed the government's decision to approve a constitutional amendment bill that stipulates reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in promotion in government jobs.
"I would like to thank the Indian government for passing it in the cabinet. We want that it should be tabled in the parliament. They (the government) should also pass it there," said Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan.
"I appeal to the Samajwadi Party, they were part of the socialist movements. They should support to pass a constitutional amendment bill, which stipulates reservation in promotion for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes," he added.
Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party has questioned the timing of the presentation of the bill, terming it as a diversionary tactic by the government.
The bill, which has been a long-standing demand of all parties except the Samajwadi Party, will be introduced in the present session of the parliament.
Communist Party of India (CPI) lawmaker D. Raja has welcomed the move.
"It is good that finally good sense has prevailed upon the government and the cabinet has cleared reservation in promotions to Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. They are bringing a bill. I welcome this and I hope parliament will pass it," he said.
The proposed Bill approved by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday seeks to provide a reserved jobs quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), and seeks to amend at least four articles of the Constitution to enable the government to provide a quota in promotions to SC/STs.
It seeks to remove the term inadequate representation, mentioned in Article 16(4) to justify reservation in promotion and appointments, and also delink the term efficiency of administration from the claims of SCs/STs for jobs and promotions, mentioned in Article 335.
Changes are also likely to be made in articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution, following the advice of the government's top law officer, Attorney General, G.E. Vahanvati, on the issue. (ANI)