The Indian Express: 17.1.19
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the constitutional amendment to provide 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections in the general category was achieved due to the political will of his government, and the step will open a new door of social harmony.
Congratulating the Gujarat government for taking the lead in implementing the provision, Modi said that the central government has decided to implement it in education institutes from the new academic session this year, and that 10 per cent seats would be added so that existing categories are not affected.
Speaking while inaugurating the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, the PM said that the demand for reservation for the poor from general categories was there for decades. “Political parties would throw this arrow during elections but would not have courage for constitutional amendment, but the NDA government showed this courage. I reiterate that this reservation facility will not affect reservation facilities of other categories. This will open a new door of social harmony and end all past differences,” he said.
“The central government has decided that this reservation facility will be implemented in education institutes from the new academic session this year itself. It will be introduced in 900 universities and 40,000 colleges,” he added.
About the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute, built at a cost of Rs 750 crore, the PM stressed that the project had faced a lot of negativity. “When there were discussions on this subject during 2011-12, at that time too a lot of negative talk would go around the market, irrational allegations would be made. But whoever will see this today would certainly feel satisfied about how important it is to set up such a facility for a common person,” he said, addressing a gathering on the Sabarmati riverfront.
He said that this 1,500-bed hospital will take Ahmedabad’s health services to a very high level. This is the first government hospital with a helipad for air ambulance services, and another hospital to be joined with the Ayushman Bharat scheme, he added.
Speaking about Ayushman Bharat, he said that the success of the scheme, which some people call ‘Modicare’, can be gauged from the fact that within 100 days 7 lakh poor got free treatment in hospitals. “Under this scheme, every day, on an average 10,000 poor are getting free treatment… Families would tolerate pain but not get treatment because it was not possible, now they have support of Ayushman Bharat scheme,” the PM said.
“Due to Ayushman Bharat scheme, demand for health services in small towns is increasing… Thus employment opportunities in this sector will increase in coming days. The government has taken a major decision on education and employment…”
Unveiling a statue of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, known as the father of the Indian space programme, after inaugurating the hospital, the PM said, “I hope as we remember him on his 100th birth anniversary (in 2019), a scientific temperament is instilled in our Gujarat’s children. This would be the best tribute to him.”
The Sarabhai family was present at the ceremony, including Dr Sarabhai’s son Kartikeya who founded the Centre for Environment Education and is trustee at Sabarmati Ashram, and his sister and dancer Mallika Sarabhai. A release from Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, which Mallika heads, said, “The Prime Minister graced the occasion at the request of the family.”
According to the release, “At the behest of the Prime Minister, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) set up a Vikram Sarabhai Centenary Celebration Committee which has chalked out a number of initiatives to commemorate Dr Sarabhai and his work…”
Modi concluded the pre-Vibrant Gujarat 2019 events with the inauguration of Amdavad Shopping Festival. Highlighting the festival’s focus on entrepreneurs, Modi emphasised the government’s push for MSMEs. “Be it tourism, manufacturing or the services sector, crores of employment opportunities have been created in the last four-and-a-half years,” he said.