SRINAGAR A Bill which proposes to give reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to those living within 10 km of the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir and bring them under the ambit of reservation at par with persons living in areas adjoining the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 had been cleared by the Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 12.
The Bill was introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Home Minister Amit Shah who was present in the House.
In its statement of purpose, the Bill states that due to the existing instability, people living in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir are often forced to move out of their homes and move to safer places, which impacts their education.
In order to bring them into the mainstream, it was felt justifiable to extend the reservation benefits to these people.
The J&K Reservation Amendment Bill aims to give reservation benefits for education, jobs and promotion to the scheduled castes and tribes, and to the economically weaker sections in Jammu and Kashmir. It will benefit more than 36 lakh residents, according to the officials.
The Bill is in line with the Centres ten per cent reservation for economically weaker sections, which was introduced in rest of the country through the 103 Constitution Amendment in January 2019.
The Bill once passed by Parliament will amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the IB within the ambit of reservation, on par with those living in areas adjoining the ALoC.
People living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005.
Due to continuous cross-border tensions, persons living along the IB suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness.
Shelling from across the border often compels residents to move to safer places, which adversely impacts their education as schools and colleges remain closed for long periods.
Some members from the opposition wanted to oppose introduction of the bill but Speaker Om Birla rejected their demand, saying they had not followed the procedure for doing so.
The bill was presented in Lok Sabha even as the J&K High Court issued notices to the Centre and the State, seeking their replies by July 10 on a petition challenging the ordinance.
According to officials, the bill will not have any impact on Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of J&K.
Amit Shah has vowed to scrap Article 370 of the constitution that allows Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution, flag and the right to handle its own laws except on matters that impact national security during the campaign in the run-up to the recently concluded election.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto had also mentioned the scrapping of Article 35A, which defines permanent residents of the state and excludes outsiders from owning property and getting benefits including government jobs.
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