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The Lok Sabha managed to pass two bills for the Jammu and Kashmir region on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023.
The bills, Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 were introduced in the Parliament in July of this year and amended two key laws in the region.
The bills were debated for more than six hours across two days before being passed with Union Home Minister Amit Shah talking about how these two bills would give justice to the people who had been deprived of their rights for almost 70 years now. But what are these bills and what do these changes mean?
Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023
Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is an amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004. The previous bill provides reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and other socially and educationally backward classes.
The new bill wants to change Section 2 of the 2004 Act and was introduced in Lok Sabha on 26th July 2023.
The amendment seeks to change the nomenclature of a section of people described in the Act from “weak and under privileged classes (social castes)” to “other backward classes”.
Furthermore, as per the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 currently “socially and educationally backward classes include:
(i) people residing in villages declared as socially and educationally backward by the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir,
(ii) people residing in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control and International Border, and (iii) weak and under-privileged classes (social castes), as notified.”
The bill wants to make a change that would let “the government may make inclusions or exclusions from category of weak and under-privileged classes, on the recommendations of a Commission”.
Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill
The second bill to be passed by the Lok Sabha is the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which would amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
The amendment seeks to give representation to Kashmiri Migrants and displaced people from the PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) in the Legislative Assembly.
The Act currently was the one behind the reorganisation of the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
The bill proposes that the total number of seats in the state’s legislative assembly be increased from 83 to 90.
Out of this, 7 seats would be reserved for legislators from scheduled castes and 9 seats for members from scheduled tribes.
Another change given in the bill is for the lieutenant governor to be able to nominate at least 2 people from the Kashmiri migrant community for the assembly with at least one member being a woman. Along with that another member representing the displaced persons from PoK can be nominated.
This change is supposed to give better representation to various communities and groups in Jammu and Kashmir’s legislative assembly and have a hand to speak out in official matters.
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