Women's reservation bill: Rahul Gandhi asks Modi govt, 'Why delay in conducting a caste census?'
New Delhi/IBNS: Congress top leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday questioned the Centre over the delay in "conducting a caste census" in the backdrop of the women's reservation bill, which was almost unanimously passed by Parliament.
Addressing a press conference here, Rahul said, "Out of the 90 secretaries in the Govt. of India, only 3 are OBCs, and they control just 5% of the budget. This is a shocking revelation. Are OBCs only 5% of India's population? Shouldn't their participation be more significant? If we aim to distribute power more equitably in India, we need data on caste."
The Congress MP added, "The government must release the data from the last caste census and initiate a fresh one now. Why the delay in conducting a caste census? "Having OBC MPs is not the sole solution because they are hardly involved in decision-making."
Minutes before Rahul's press conference Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave full credit to the formation of a "stable government" for the passage of the historic women's quota bill in Parliament, in a bid to highlight the benefits of a full majority government at the Centre.
A day after Parliament passed the bill almost unanimously, Modi greeted his workers, mostly women, at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters here.
Modi was welcomed by women BJP MPs including Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the BJP headquarters on Friday morning.
Speaking to the workers, Modi credited the full majority government, which was formed in 2014 after a gap of 30 years, for the history being created in Indian politics.
"'Nari Shakti Vandan Act' has become a reality because of the stable government with full majority. This law has again proved that a strong and decisive government with absolute majority is very necessary to take the country forward," Modi said with around six months left for the next General Elections.
Making history, the Women's Reservation Bill cleared through the Upper House on Thursday evening and now awaits the signature of the President to make 33 percent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies official.
The Bill received unanimous support from all Rajya Sabha members. There were no abstentions and no opposition. The bill cleared the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with the support of 454 MPs while only two MPs voted against it.
However, opposition parties, who all have almost supported the bill, questioned the government's intention ahead of the elections citing the reservation will be applicable only after the delimitation process which will follow the census.
Some parties including the principal opposition force Congress have demanded a reservation for the SC/ST/OBCs within the 33 percent women quota.