Union minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that almost every political party had supported the quotas for economically weaker sections of the society and 'their commitment to their promise is put to test today'. “I request all to support the motion,” he said. He even pulled out the Congress’s manifesto for the 2014 elections and asked the grand old party to "walk its talk" by supporting the bill.
"The bill will enable social upliftment and will benefit a large section of the society," he said and added 'just how equals cannot be treated unequally, similarly unequals cannot be treated equally'.
The Finance Minister also rejected suggestions that the measure may fall foul of a Supreme Court judgment putting a cap of 50 per cent at the total quota. The 50 per cent bar, he added, is for caste-based reservations, while the bill seeks quota for the economically weaker sections in the general category.
Taking a jibe at opposition parties for their protests, he said if they are supporting the bill, they should be whole-hearted and not grudgingly doing it.
He also added the bill, once passed by Parliament, will come into effect and would not be required to be ratified by state assemblies. The BJP in its manifesto also supported the measure and is now working to implement it, he said, adding Constitution makers also spoke about equality of status and opportunity.
Attempts were made earlier too by governments at the Centre and states in this regard but failed because they were done either through common statutory provisions or notifications, Jaitley said.
Earlier on Monday, the Narendra Modi government approved 10 per cent reservation in jobs for the economically weaker sections in the upper castes (general category). The reservation to the economically weaker sections of the general castes will be given after a constitutional amendment.