2 strange things, says Rahul Gandhi on census, delimitation condition in bill
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said only 3 of the 90 secretary-rank officers at the Centre are from the OBC community and they control just 5% of the Indian budget
NEW DELHI: Making a strong pitch for caste census and reservation for backward classes, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday extended his support for the women’s reservation bill but lamented that the version proposed by the government did not include a provision for quotas for Other Backward Classes (OBC).
Gandhi also called for early implementation of the political reservation for women, saying there was no need to wait for the census and delimitation exercise as specified in the bill.
Participating in the discussion on the women’s reservation bill, Gandhi said the legislation was a “big step” in the transfer of power to a section of the people of India. “OBC is another group of people in India. The question is, how many Dalit, OBC and tribals are there in India? The answer can only come through the caste census. Release the data of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (of 2011) data and if you don’t do it, we will do it,” he said.
“A huge step of the transfer of power was panchayati raj. And this bill is a big step. Women of our country fought for independence, are in many ways more capable than any man, and should be given more power,” Gandhi said before he shifted his focus to the OBC reservation.
“I would like to have seen OBC reservation included in the bill. I want a large chunk of Indian women (from OBC) to have access through this bill,” Gandhi said.
The Wayanad MP also spotlighted two provisions of the legislation which require the delimitation and census exercise to the conducted before the reservation comes into effect.
“There are also two strange things: that you require census and delimitation. In my view, the bill can be implemented today,” he said, alleging the provisions are a part of the design to “push the ball forward by 7-9 years.”
Gandhi appeared to link the government’s move to bring in the bill with the Opposition bloc’s support for the caste census. “For some reason, the moment the Opposition raises the caste census, the government tries to create a distraction and come up with a new event,” he said.
At the CWC meeting, Gandhi had dubbed the Sanatana Dharma debate the BJP’s plan to distract attention from the raging issues and caste census.
Gandhi said when he was preparing for the debate, he looked at different institutions that define how our country moves forward. “I looked at what is the participation of the OBC community in these institutions. There are 90 secretaries to the Government of India who manage the core of India: I was shocked to know only 3 secretaries are from the OBC community. And they control just 5% of the Indian budget. Out of ₹44 lakh crore, they control just ₹2.7 lakh crore,” Gandhi claimed.
Gandhi also mentioned the absence of President Droupadi Murmu at the functions related to the new parliament building.