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October 25, 1999
Quota for SCs, STs to continue
President K R Narayanan today announced that reservation for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will be extended by another ten years.
He said a committee of experts and prominent figures would be appointed to study the Constitution and make suitable recommendations to meet the challenges of the next century.
Addressing the joint of Parliament, the President said Pakistan must put an end to hostile propaganda against India and stop cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other regions of the country to help initiate the 'composite dialogue process'.
He lamented that the canker of corruption was eating into every institution of the nation and the government was determined to ensure probity in public life. The Lok Pal bill will cover the office of the prime minister, he said.
The government will also introduce the Central Vigilance Commission bill giving statutory status to the commission.
He said the government would also examine replacing the present system of no-confidence motion by a system of constructive vote of confidence and having a fixed term for the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas in order to prevent political instability both at the Centre and in the states.
Referring to the government's commitment to safeguard interests of SCs and STs, backward classes and minorities, he said the focus would be on education and socio-economic empowerment. The reservation above 50 per cent followed by some states would be sanctified through legislative measures.
He said a broad consensus already existed on the need for extensive reforms in the electoral laws. The government would soon bring a Comprehensive Electoral Reforms bill to further strengthen democracy. The government would also ensure the right to franchise of defence and security forces by introducing proxy voting.
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