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Quota will not harm general category: PM
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August 31, 2006 13:05 IST
Last Updated: August 31, 2006 17:34 IST

With moves on to bring yet another quota bill, this time to reserve seats in unaided educational institutions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Thursday sought to allay apprehensions of general-category students, saying opportunities for them would not be curtailed.

"Our approach on this (quota) issue is two-fold -- first of all we must not do anything which will reduce educational opportunities for children other than those belonging to the backward classes," Dr Singh told students of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi during a brief question-answer session with them.

The government, he added, instead aimed to provide students from backward communities with access to 'genuine' opportunities that empower them to realise their 'inherent development potential.'

Dr Singh's comments came in the wake of Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh's [Images] announcement on Wednesday regarding plans to bring in a bill aimed at providing Other Backward Classes reservations in unaided educational institutions as well.

The prime minister pointed out that only 10 per cent of the population of backward communities had access to college education at present.

"Let me say that the quality of opportunity has to become a living reality. And if it is to become a living reality, it is very essential that people belonging to all sections of society should have access to quality," he remarked.

The prime minister supported OBC reservations in educational establishments as a means to help the country move ahead as a 'cohesive society.'

"If India is to move as a cohesive society, we have to strengthen those at the lowest rung of the social and economic ladder. We have to empower them to realise their destiny. Economic criteria also have a role," he said.

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