Consider reservation as responsibility, not burden: Pradhan to new generation

Consider reservation as responsibility, not burden: Pradhan to new generation

Last Updated Sep - 09 - 2022, 10:18 AM | Source : The FELA | The Indian Express | Visitors : 36

Dharmendra Pradhan said that the new generation should consider affirmation action for marginalized communities as their responsibility, not burden.
Pradhan to new generation

New Delhi: Arguing strongly in favour of reservations in higher education, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the new generation should consider affirmation action for marginalized communities as their responsibility rather than a burden. Pradhan said the founding fathers decided to adopt affirmative action following debates in the Constituent Assembly which felt the Indian State must provide a level playing field to the historically disadvantaged groups.

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Pradhan made the remarks while interacting with students of a private coaching institute in Rajasthan’s Kota on Tuesday.

Incidentally, the 2022 NEET-UG topper-Tanishka-hails from Rajasthan and comes under the OBC ( non-creamy layer category). In total, there are seven OBC-NCL candidates on the list of the top 50.

“Who cleans your toilets? Sweepers do it right? Whose feet did the Prime Minister wash at the Kumbh Mela? That of a safai karamchari. They clean our washrooms and we call them untouchables. We have been doing it for centuries. And now that over the last 75 years we have provided them some assistance through affirmative action we are questioning that ?” Pradhan said.

Pradhan’s response came after multiple students questioned the reservation policy during the interaction, which was also attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, saying it puts students belonging to the general category at a disadvantageous position.

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Category-wise break-ups of the qualifying NEET-UG candidates this year show that 13.3 percent are SCs, 45.08 percent OBC and 4.7 percent STs, as against last year’s 13.1 percent, 4.6 percent, and 45.6 percent respectively.

In his attempt to explain the rationale behind providing reservations in higher education programs, Pradhan also underlined how the Adivasis have been discriminated against for centuries despite their crucial role in protecting the ecology.

“Today the world is concerned about climate change. We are worried about deforestation. Who kept our forests secured? The Adivasis did. We kept them backward saying you are dull because you stay in the wild. We discriminated against those who kept the planet safe. Should we not handhold them and bring them up?” the minister said.

He also referred to the introduction of the EWS quota, saying the Modi government does not work to favour any particular group along the lines of caste, creed, or religion.

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“The government belongs to all. The Constituent Assembly also debated the need to provide marginalized communities a level playing field. Not doing so carried the risk of inviting a civil war-like situation. That’s why the Constitution has a provision for affirmative action. The challenge is to expand the base. The new generation should not consider affirmative action to be a burden but rather consider it to be their responsibility,” he added.

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