New Delhi: In a major policy shift, the Congress party on Saturday demanded job reservations in the private sector and advocated a quota within quota in the Women’s Reservation Bill, which is pending for passage since 2010.
The party’s panel on social justice is likely to recommend the Congress working committee (CWC) to reserve 50% representations for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and minorities at all levels within the organisation, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and K Raju said on Saturday.
The panel also pushed for reservation in private sector jobs for weaker sections of society.
“This government is selling off public sector companies diluting the reservation for jobs in government entities. Therefore, we are seeking quota in the private sector to protect the interests of the weaker section,” said Khurshid, a former union minister.
The political push for reservation in the private sector has already led to debates, and during the 10 years of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, no such effort to implement quota in private jobs was mooted.
Any policy in that direction would require amendments in central laws, but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not spelled out any stand on the issue so far.
On Saturday, the Congress panel on social justice also pushed for a quota within quota in the Women’s Reservation Bill, years after the party resisted such demands when the draft legislation was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010. Regional parties such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Janata Dal (United) and the Samajwadi Party were in favour of a quota within quota, but their demand was unmet.
The draft law seeks to reserve 33% seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women. In 2010, it was passed in the Rajya Sabha and was finally transmitted to the Lok Sabha. However, it lapsed when the 15th Lok Sabha was dissolved in 2014. A quota within quota would entail further reservation of seats for women from the weaker sections of society within the one-third quota.
The decision to not include a quota within quota in the Women’s Reservation Bill was a “tactical move” and “the idea was to first pass the bill and then think about the share for the weaker section,” Khurshid claimed.