Bill for reservation of J&K’s poorest of poor still awaits governor’s assent

The J&K legislature had passed a bill in 2018 to provide quota in jobs and admissions to economically weaker sections of the society.
Bill for reservation of J&K’s poorest of poor still awaits governor’s assent
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The J&K legislature had passed a bill in 2018 to provide quota in jobs and admissions to economically weaker sections of the society. But the proposed legislation is still awaiting assent from the Governor.

The Governor's nod to Pahari reservation bill has brought focus back on the bill, which was widely seen as an "attempt to reach-out to urban population of the state".

On February 10, the state legislative assembly had cleared a bill to provide six percent reservation in government jobs and admissions in professional and engineering colleges to the poorest of the poor.

 The bill was the first affirmative action to address grievances of the urban masses who have been the "victims" of reservations enjoyed by other sections of the society.  

When the bill was brought in the Assembly, the legislators cutting across party lines voted in its favour and described it as a "historic piece of legislation".

Minister in-charge of the bill, SajjadGani Lone had said the legislation would go a long way in addressing the grievances of the urban population of the state.

"In terms of reservations or affirmative action for economically weaker sections of the society, this is the first of its kind for a place like Srinagar since 1947," he had said.

After it was cleared by the state legislature, the bill was sent to then Governor NN Vohra for assent. However, Vohra raised a number of queries on the bill.

Since then the fate of the bill is hanging in balance with the state government and the Raj Bhavan officials refusing to comment on it.

A senior official in the social welfare department said the bill was one of the important pro-poor measures and, if passed, would have widespread impact on the urban areas.

"The poorest of the poor with access to very basic educational facilities are being asked to compete on merit while those with reservations go to private elite institutions and yet are able to dodge meritocracy," he said, adding the proposed legislation was important for a city like Srinagar whose inhabitants have been deprived from reservation benefits from 1947.  

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