New Delhi: Amid high drama, the controversial bill to provide quota to SCs/STs in government job promotions was finally taken up in the Rajya Sabha and it got support from various parties including BJP.

Moving the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said it is important in the backdrop of backwardness of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and their inadequate representation in government jobs.

With an aim of garnering maximum support, government has incorporated some crucial elements like 22 percent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial.

The bill, which is strongly opposed by Samajwadi Party, got conditional support from BJP and clear cut backing from some other parties like BSP, CPI-M, CPI, Trinamool Congress and JD-U. However, Shiv Sena did not support the bill.

Voting on the bill, which will require two-third support for its passage, is expected to take place on Monday.

The Upper House witnessed high drama when two SP members were directed to leave the House for causing disruptions over the quota bill, leading to arguments and counter-arguments before all members of the party walked out.

After the walkout by SP members, proceedings of the House went on smoothly.

Trouble started just before the bill was moved by Narayanasamy for consideration and passing, in the third attempt in the last four days.

He said agitations are going in some states and bill is aimed at removing injustice to the deprived categories.

The government will consider the efficiency in services part of the bill, he said.  The question of efficiency was raised by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, who initiated the debate on the bill.

The BJP leader asked the government to make changes so that the bill did not create reverse discrimination.

"My party is fully committed to the concept of social justice," he said.

Jaitley said BJP supports the affirmative action for uplift of those who have been historically deprived of opportunities, but sought changes in the bill pertaining to efficiency of services while granting such promotions.

Urging the government to reconsider the provisions in the bill concerning Article 335, he said that the bill in its present form runs the risk of being struck down by courts.

BSP chief Mayawati, who has been pushing for the bill, said it has been brought to the House with great difficulties and hoped it would pass with comfortable majority.

She slammed Congress for the plight of SCs and STs in the country and its failure to take action for their uplift.

Mayawati also advocated reservation for economically weaker sections of upper castes as well as backwards.

Balachandra Mungekar (Cong) said it is a very crucial bill and reservation in promotion is absolutely necessary. He pointed out that of the 84 secretaries in the central government, none belongs to SC/ST category.

T K Ranagrajan (CPI-M), Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) and D Bandopadhyay (AITC) also participated in the debate.


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