Times of India, 6th September 2009
GUWAHATI: The state Assembly on Saturday ratified parliamentary approval of a constitutional amendment Bill extending reservation for Scheduled
Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Parliament and Assemblies by another 10 years.
The reservation for SC/STs in legislative bodies was first done in 1949 for 50 years. Later, it was extended for 10 years in 1999, the term of which expires in March 2010. The Rajya Sabha adopted the Constitution (109th Amendment) Bill 2009 on August 3 while Lok Sabha approved it on August 4. The measure also extends nomination of members of the Anglo-Indian community to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies by another decade.
Out of 543 Lok Sabha seats, 79 are reserved for SCs and 42 for STs. Of the 3,961 Assembly seats, 543 are reserved for SCs and 527 for STs.
The House discussed at length the extension of constitutional reservation for SCs and STs, which was tabled by chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Supporting the Bill, leader of the Opposition and AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said the government should initiate measures to check misuse of funds earmarked for the welfare of SCs and STs. He asked the government to take up the issue of granting ST status to six more communities from the state.
Other opposition legislators sought measures to contain social and political unrest, bring more groups under the SC/ST umbrella. They said the government should take steps to wipe out false caste certificate rackets in the state.