The Lok Sabha passed a bill on Tuesday (6 February) aimed at providing reservation to Other Backward Classes in local bodies of Jammu and Kashmir as per a report by The New Indian Express.
During the debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill-2024, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai highlighted the developmental progress initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, benefitting the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Presently, there is no provision for reservation of seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The bill aims to rectify this by providing reservations to OBCs in these local bodies, aligning the union territory's laws with the provisions of the constitution.
The bill's statement of objects and reasons stresses that this move will ensure justice for OBC citizens in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since independence.
In response to the discussion in the Lok Sabha, Rai refrained from addressing opposition demands regarding the timeline for holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the restoration of statehood.
He criticised opposition members for diverting attention from the bill's primary objective by raising other issues.
Opposition members urged the government to expedite assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference (NC) emphasised the urgency of holding polls, asserting that this decision should have been made by the central government without the Supreme Court's intervention.
Minister of State for Home Ajay Misra highlighted that local bodies' elections had been conducted in the erstwhile state.
On 5 August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was reorganised as a Union Territory of India, following the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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