Reservation for weaker section to continue: Uma Bharti

New Delhi : Union Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday said that the apprehensions that reservations for the weaker sections of society would be slowly withdrawn by the BJP-led NDA government were “baseless” and the system will continue.

“The fear that reservation (provided under the constitution) would go during our rule is baseless,” the minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation said while addressing a seminar on ‘Multi-purpose development of water resources and present challenges’ here.

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She said as there were great disparities in Indian society, people from the weaker section would always need special attention and it could be ensured only by giving them reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

Bharti praised Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar, who campaigned against social discrimination and played a very significant role in drafting independent India’s constitution, saying many political parties never wanted Ambedkar’s ideology to grow and were also not in favour of giving him his due place in the country’s history.

She said people like Ambedkar, who fought against all odds and went on to achieve so much, would always continue to inspire generations, and not figures like Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student of the Hyderabad University who committed suicide in January.

She, however, said such incidents were a “cause of concern and shameful” for everybody.

Bharti, calling for a water revolution in the country, announced that 100 villages, inhabited by the downtrodden and weakest of the weaker sections, will be selected under ‘Jal Gram’ scheme for water conservation.

“I have discussed it with my team and we plan to provide water to villages where Dalits are in majority,” she said, adding that the Modi government was committed to fix all water problems of the country.

She directed officials of the Central Water Commission and other allied agencies in her ministry to visit every block of drought-affected areas in the country to chalk out a detailed plan to face the challenge.

The minister also referred to little known contributions of Ambedkar in the water resources sector and said her ministry was thinking of celebrating Ambedkar’s birth anniversary as ‘Jal Divas’ from next year.

Speaking on the occasion, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ramvilas Paswan also praised Ambedkar.

Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and ministers of state Sanwar Lal Jat and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir were among those who attended the seminar.