Union minister for social justice and empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, on Tuesday made suggestions ranging from Dalit reservation in sports; assistance to couples doing inter-caste marriage to reservation on financial status and extending monetary help to students.
Athawale supported BJP MP Udit Raj’s demand on reservation for Dalits in all sports, including the national cricket team. Citing the example of a law enacted by the South African government favouring players of colour into their national cricket team, Raj on November 15 had demanded reservation for Dalits in all sports.
“It should happen. Talented players from the community would get chances if reservation comes up,” said Athawale.
Suggesting a Constitutional amendment to bring about 25% reservation in job opportunities for communities such as Rajputs, Brahmins and Jains, Athawale said, “Without affecting reservation of SCs, STs and OBCs, if 25% reservation is provided to upper-class communities based on economic backwardness, the issue of reservation would be resolved. The Gujjars were given 5% reservation by the state government. The Supreme Court restricts reservation beyond 50% of the employment opportunity. A Constitutional amendment will pave the way for this necessary change.”
When asked about atrocities committed against Dalits, the minister pitched for giving financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh and providing land or employment to couples in inter-caste marriages. “Rajasthan is giving maximum incentives to such couples in comparison to other states – it is Rs 1 lakh in Maharashtra and Rs 3 lakh in some other states. The state government should also give Rs 25 crore to districts registering maximum inter-caste marriages.”
Athawale also said that the ministry will consider state officials’ suggestion to include women widowed at an early age into the provisions of widow pensions under the Centre’s rules, which currently give pensions only to widows above 40-years-old.
The minister said steps will be taken to ensure state-wise reservation after reports revealing that there are more beneficiaries of reservation in tribal-dominated districts Udaipur and Kota.
He also suggested the state to provide Rs 1000-1500 to students not getting admission in hostels so as to help them afford rooms on rent.