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I'm not against reservation: Sibal

The minister had given a statement that nothing should be done to compromise India's competitiveness.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 20:48 IST

As his remarks in Hannover caused flutters in the party and government, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday dismissed reports that he was against reservation.

"Show me a single statement that I have made against reservation or OBC quota," Sibal, who is currently in Tunis, said on phone.

He said what he had said was that India must continue to have competitive edge because the world is looking towards it for high quality human resource.

"I am of the opinion that in areas of research and development and in achieving excellence we should not dilute our ability to globally compete and lead the world," Sibal said.

"Excellence is not against reservation. You can achieve both things. You can have a reservation policy and still have excellence," he said.

Sibal was part of the high-level Indian delegation which accompanied Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his recent visit to Germany, and his statement in Hannover that nothing should be done in law that may compromise on India's industrial-global competitiveness caused controversy in the backdrop of the raging debate on the quota issue.

Noting that he had not made any reference to the proposal of HRD Minister Arjun Singh, he dismissed as "nonsense" reports that his statement abroad was a reflection of the Prime Minister's concerns over the reservation issue.

Seeking to remove the misconceptions about his remarks at Hannover, he said when a television anchor asked him on camera if his references were pointed at the reservation policy he had replied in the negative.

"In this century, power will not flow from the barrel of a gun, but levels of excellence achieved in laboratories," he said.

He also addedthat institutions of excellence where India is going to compete with the world are in areas like atomic energy, nanotechnology, biotechnology and institutions where "we create knowledge and producers of knowledge".

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 20:24 IST