Centre firm on constitutional status to OBC Commission: Minister

Last Updated 20 January 2018, 16:45 IST

Union Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said that the Union government will table the Constitution (123rd) Amendment Bill, 2017, in the budget session of Parliament, which seeks to accord constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

He said on Saturday that although it was tabled in the winter session, it could not be passed. The Centre is firm on according Constitutional status to the Commission. "Economically backward sections of the Upper Class should be given reservation without affecting the existing reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs. A law to give a reservation of 25% in the remaining 50% to those who are not in SC/ST/OBC but have an annual income below Rs 8 lakh, should be made," he added.

"Dalit atrocity is a social issue and not a political issue. One of the reasons for the atrocities on Dalits was the feeling among other communities that Dalits have reservation," he said

"A proposal has been submitted before the ruling NDA government in this regard. The agitating communities, including the Marathas in Maharashtra, Patels in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana, can be included in the 25% quota," said the minister.

The Ministry has conducted over 6,000 camps for disabled persons to distribute various equipment. Nine lakh beneficiaries have benefited from the camps.

He added that the NDA government believes in the Constitution of India. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that he considers Constitution as 'Dharma Grantha.'

To a query on Anant Kumar Hegde's statement on changing the Constitution, Athawale clarified, "Nobody can change the Constitution, there is only a provision for amendment. Nobody can change the preamble of the Constitution. The NDA government has not supported Hegde's statement."

'BJP will win'

Predicting the victory of the BJP in the upcoming Assembly election in Karnataka, Athawale said that the people of the state will support the welfare programmes initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Athawale, who is president of Republic Party of India, said "If the BJP shares a few seats with the RPI to contest, then we will have an alliance. Otherwise, the RPI will field its candidates in some constituencies. Wherever we are not fielding our candidates, the RPI will support the BJP. I will discuss the issue with Union Minister Ananth Kumar and BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa."

(Published 20 January 2018, 15:30 IST)

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