Archive for ‘parliament’


Centre clears 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections

The Narendra Modi government is ready with a bill to introduce 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections. The constitution amendment bill will be introduced in parliament tomorrow, the last day of the Winter Session.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Upper caste reservation,PM Narendra Modi
Modi government has cleared 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker upper castes (Photo | Hindustan Times )

The government has cleared a 10 per cent quota in jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker sections, sources told Hindustan Times after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government is ready with a Constitution amendment bill which will be introduced in parliament tomorrow, the last day of the Winter Session.

The decision comes months before the government’s tenure is to end in a few months and the country is headed into election mode.

The bill seeks to amend two constitutional provisions, Articles 15 and 16, which prohibit discrimination on any grounds in jobs and admissions to educational institutions.

People who have an annual income less than 8 lakh, own less than 5 acre farm land, have house smaller than 1,000 sq feet in a town or a 100 sq yard house in notified municipal area would qualify for the proposed quotas.

The move, a BJP leader hinted, would come in handy to deal with reservation demands from communities that had been demanding that they be counted as other backward classes, or OBCs that have 27 per cent quota for government jobs and admission to educational institutions.

It would also help the national coalition led by the BJP to consolidate its the upper caste vote, considered one of the three crucial pillars of the BJP’s support base. The other backward classes (OBC), and the new Dalit sub-castes who shifted loyalties, are considered the other two pillars.

Already, the BJP, which had gone to great lengths to neutralise the dilution of the SC/ST atrocities law last year, had ended up antagonising the upper castes far beyond what it had anticipated. In the recent assembly elections where it lost three states to the Congress, there had been anecdotal evidence that the upper castes had, in some cases, shifted.

Dalit leader and junior social justice minister Ramdas Athawale had earlier supposed reservation for upper castes, arguing that since quotas could not be ended, parliament should give 25 per cent reservation to the upper castes.

“I welcome wholeheartedly reservation given to economically… Now the ceiling will be raised from 50 to 60 per cent… Parliament is very much empowered to raise this ceiling,” BJP MP and Udit Raj said.


Angry Indian farmers march on parliament to denounce their plight

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Indian farmers and rural workers marched to the Indian parliament in the capital, New Delhi, on Friday in a protest against soaring operating costs and plunging produce prices that have brought misery to many.

Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The protest is one of the biggest displays of frustration with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which faces a tough general election due by May next year. India’s 263 million farmers make up an important voting bloc.

“Farmers have been routinely committing suicide,” said one of the protest leaders, Yogendra Yadav, as he marched in a crowd down a central Delhi thoroughfare.

“It’s a shame that the government doesn’t have any time for those who feed us,” said Yadav, who leads the Jai Kisan Andolan, a farmers’ group.

Low food prices, export curbs, anti-inflation policies that keep rural incomes low and a broad shift from subsidies to investment spending have all infuriated and demoralised farmers.

Core inflation in India, where farming is a mainstay for nearly half the people, has hovered around 6 percent in the past few months, but food prices have either fallen or remained stagnant.

Agriculture contributes about 15 percent to India’s $2.6 trillion economy, Asia’s third-largest, but employs nearly half of its 1.3 billion people.

Farmers from more than 200 groups began gathering in New Delhi on Thursday. They demanded that the government call a special session of parliament to discuss the crisis in the countryside.

“I myself know so many farmers who have committed suicide, and their families are now living in penury,” said farmer Lakhan Pal Singh from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

“The policies of the Modi administration are responsible.”

Farmers have also protested in the financial hub of Mumbai, including this month when tens of thousands of farmers marched to Mumbai to demand loan waivers and the transfer of forest land to villagers.

New Delhi police deployed 3,500 personnel in the city on Friday but there was no trouble.

In October, police fired teargas and water cannons in a clash with about 50,000 farmers heading for New Delhi.


The discontent in the countryside, where 70 percent of Indians live, could erode support for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won India’s biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades in the last general election in 2014.

But political analysts and farm economists say Modi will find it hard to repeat that next time.

“We voted for the BJP but anti-farmer policies of the government have hit us hard,” said Singh.

The last time a BJP government lost power, in a 2004 election, it was largely because rural voters abandoned the party.

Last year, police shot and killed six farmers protesting against lower prices in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, which recently held a state assembly election – a neck-and-neck contest between the BJP and opposition Congress party.

The result is due on Dec. 11.

Leaders from the main opposition Congress party, as well as left-wing parties and the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party addressed the flag-waving protesters who converged in the historic heart of the city.

“We’ve been living a hand-to-mouth existence for a very long time but rising prices of seeds, diesel and fertiliser and falling prices of milk, fruits, vegetables and even staples is the last straw,” said farmer Shivpal Yadav.

“If the government doesn’t address the problems, we’ll be back,” said Yadav, from the northern state of Haryana.

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Robert Birsel


China, Turkey eye closer parliamentary exchanges


 Li Zhanshu (R), chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, holds talks with Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Binali Yildirim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 3, 2018. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — China and Turkey on Monday vowed to strengthen parliamentary exchanges and cooperation to strengthen bilateral ties.

The pledge came as China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu held talks with Binali Yildirim, speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, in Beijing.

Bonded by the ancient Silk Road in the past, China and Turkey are more closely connected today by the Belt and Road Initiative, said Li, chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, adding that the two countries were at a similar development stage, shared common interests, and had great cooperation potential.

Li said the leaders of the two countries had met twice this year, reaching important consensus on developing bilateral relations and on major international and regional issues, and making strategic planning and top-level design for promoting bilateral ties in a new era.

He said that China had always viewed the two countries’ strategic cooperative relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, and hoped to deepen mutual trust and beneficial cooperation to lift bilateral ties to a new level.

“The Chinese NPC is ready to work with the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to enhance exchanges and cooperation, and make it a priority to implement the consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders,” Li said.

Li suggested the two sides carry out friendly exchanges and provide legal protection for bilateral cooperation, to improve the development of the China-Turkey strategic cooperative relationship.

Yildirim said the two countries had broad prospects for cooperation in many areas, including on co-building the Belt and Road, as well as in trade, railways, tourism and anti-terrorism.

“Turkey firmly adheres to the one-China policy and supports China in combating terrorism,” he said. “The two parliaments should strengthen friendly exchanges, support pragmatic cooperation in all fields, and add impetus to the development of bilateral ties.”

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