Union Cabinet clears amendment of Article 370, approves reservation for SC/ST and general category poor in J&K
   01-Mar-2019



The Union Government on Thursday gave its nod to the promulgation of an ordinance for giving reservation benefits to SCs and STs in Jammu and Kashmir by amending a clause of the Article 370.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Jammu &Kashmir Government to issue "The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019' by the President of India. It provides for amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bringing persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of reservation at par with persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
 
Briefing media after the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it will serve the purpose of application of relevant provision of the constitution as amended through the constitution (77th Amendment) act, 2019 for Jammu and Kashmir by issuing the constitution Amendment order.
 
The Minister said, once notified, this will pave the way for giving the benefit of promotion in service to the SCs, STs and also extend the reservation of up to 10 per cent for the economically weaker section in the educational institution and public employment in addition to the existing reservation in the state.
 
The Cabinet has approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019. Mr Jaitley said, the ordinance provides for amendment in the Jammu and Kashmir reservation act 2004 to bringing persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of reservation at par with persons living in areas adjoining actual line of control.
 
Impact
 
Once the Ordinance is issued, it would pave the way would pave the way for bringing persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of Reservation at par with persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control.
 
Background
 
10% reservation for economically weaker sections made applicable in J&K also. This would pave the way for reserving State Government jobs to the youth of J&K who are from economically weaker sections belonging to any religion or caste. It may be recalled that 10% reservation to economically weaker sections was introduced in rest of the country through the 103rd Constitution Amendment in January 2019. This will be in addition to such reservation available in Govt. of India jobs also.
 
The benefit of promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which include Gujjars and Bakarwals amongst others, has also been made applicable to the State of J&K. After a long wait of 24 years, the 77th Constitution Amendment of 1995 has now been applied to the State of J&K.
 
People living near the International Border have been brought at par with those living near the Line of Control for reservation in State Government jobs by amending the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 through an Ordinance. Earlier, the provision of 3% reservation was available only for youth living within 6 kms. Of LoC in J&K. Now, this provision will be applicable for people living near the international border also. This has been a long-pending demand of the population living near the international border, as they have been facing the brunt of cross border firing in J&K.
 
The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules thereunder namely The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules, 2005 provide for vertical reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories viz. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (Residents of Backward Area (RBA), Residents of Areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC) and Weak and Under Privileged Classes (Social Castes) along with horizontal reservation to the Ex-Serviceman and Physically Challenged Persons. However, the reservation benefits are not extended to the persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border.
 
Due to continuous cross border tensions, persons living alongside International Border suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness. Shelling from across the border often compels these residents to move to safer places and is adversely impacting their education as Educational Institutions remain closed for long periods. Hence, it was felt justifiable to extend the reservation benefits to persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border on the similar lines of the persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).