Rajya Sabha MPs who asked questions
We want to document who asked the tough questions in 2006. This is for todays kid who, 20 years from now, wants to look back and find out what went wrong.
NOTE : We do not look upon these MPs as pro or anti-quota. By all means, pass the 27% OBC quota bill, but debate the workings of the system in the house. Tell the nation how this quota is going to help the kid in the slum or the kid who sells newspapers at traffic lights. Tell the upper caste poor that the detour from Article 14 (right to equality) is worthwhile because it reaches the downtrodden. Everyone deserves the facts. These MPs (1 LS and 4 RS) tried to initate a debate in the two houses. We salute them for that !
Four MPs asked the tough questions in the Rajya Sabha (strength 242) Of the four, only one MP was from a major political party (SS Ahluwalia of the BJP). In the Lok Sabha, only one remarkable politician Tathagata Satpathy of the BJD tried to initiate a debate. See here for details.
For full text refer to the Rajya Sabha website (which has a static IP address – no website name ! )
Shri SS Ahluwalia (BJP Jharkhand)
The founding fathers of our Constitution mentioned about education in many articles. Article 45 of our Constitution says, ‘The State shall endeavour to provide, with a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.’ 56 years have elapsed but even now 45th article of the Constitution could not be implemented.
Article 15 (1) & (2) of our Constitution say, “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.” At the same time article 29 (2) says, “No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State Fund on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”
The Kaka Kalelkar Committee, which was constituted in 1995, had identified 837 most backward classes out of 2399 OBCs. But in the Report of the Mandal Commission during the Eighties, the number of OBCs swelled from 2399 to 3743. While in 2005 the Sachar Committee was constitituted to find out the proportion of OBCs from the Muslim Community in the total OBC population in various states. If such a provision would have been made in 1952 itself, this situation had not arisen.
Today, after 56 years of Independence, our 27 per cent population is still living below poverty line. Who are those people for which this Bill is being brought in? Since they don’t get primary education, there is no question of their admission into these educational institutions for getting higher education. This is, therefore, a mere slogan to allure or confuse a few people.
Dr Chandan Mitra (Nominated)
I rise to oppose this Bill in totality. The solemn pledge was made that within ten years of the promulgation of the Constitution, the Government of India would undertake to provide free primary education to all children born in this country till the age of 14. More than 55 years after the promulgation of the Constitution, this pledge remains unfulfilled. I demand an answer from the Government and those who have been in power that why is it that the primary job of providing education to every child born in this country since independence has not been completed?
Why the literacy rate in this country is still below 70 per cent, if you take men and women together? Why have we failed to carry out this basic task? Having failed to do this, we now look at how to introduce quotas, reservations and create divisions in the society on grounds of caste, creed, community and so on and so forth. The answer is not quotas, The answer is to upgrade everybody to provide them equality of opportunities to people across the board so that everybody comes up to a certain level and is capable of competing with the best in the country. Economic development has touched the lives of people in the rural and backward areas also. The maker of our Constitution, the great Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar described quotas as a crutch and said that nobody should be dependent on the crutch beyond a point of time.
I would appeal to the Government that please think of introducing some provision whereby even after we introduce quotas review. After two generations, the same family should not be entitled for quota provisions anymore. Constitution has been changed more than a hundred times! Why cannot the Constitution be changed once more to provide for economic criteria so that the poor and backward of all communities are entitled to some of these special enabling benefits?
Dr PC Alexander (Independent – Maharashtra)
As far as this Bill is concerned, this is within article 15 (4) and 15 (5). We recently amended the Constitution and it provides for reservation in the educational institutions. It is for equal opportunity for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who have suffered educational backwardness, social backwardness for long years. The root cause of this is that they are not able to send their children to right schools, to the good schools.
. . . .
Why should we dismiss the recommendation of the Standing Committee? When we appoint Committee, we accept whatever is convenient from their recommendations and omit whatever is inconvenient. Appoint a Commission to identify the criteria which is needed for deciding the creamy layer.
Shri Rahul Bajaj (Independent Maharashtra)
I am very sincerely for all assistance to economically and socially backward people. My company, Bajaj Auto, employees, 36 per cent of SCs, STs and OBCs. But every one was selected on merits. I am against discrimination against any category of people in any form whatsoever.
The need, as has been mentioned, is for better education at all levels starting from the primary school for everyone. I know the Bill will be passed almost unanimously. But, today, we should, at least, take a pledge that every child in this country will get good primary education till the age of 14 years. Education and primary health should get the first preference. We will not be able to do that without infrastructure.