AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said the constitutional amendment to provide 10 per cent reservation to economically poor in the general category was achieved due to the political will of his government and the measure will open new door of social harmony.
The quota for the economically poor section in higher education would be implemented from this academic year, he said here.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the 1,500-bed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Science and Research, Modi said as many as seven lakh poor people have benefited from the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat scheme in just 100 days.
"Recently, the government has taken a big decision. Provision of 10 per cent reservation has been made in the Constitution for reservation to students of general category in government jobs as well as government and private institutes," Modi said.
"I would congratulate the Gujarat government for being the first to implement it. Now, the central government and many states have implemented it," he said.
The prime minister said the demand for reservation in jobs and education for the poor among the upper castes was being made for the last several decades, but lack of political will was coming in the way of its implementation.
"Rising above caste, class, religion, demand from students of general category for reservation was going on since decades."
"But due to lack of political will, political parties would make promises during elections but would lack courage to go through the process of Constitutional amendment later."
"But the NDA government has showed the will power and made it possible," the prime minister asserted.
He said the economic reservation has been given without impacting the existing social quota for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward class.
"This will open the new door of social harmony. The complaints that existed (among different groups of society) will be resolved," he said.
"The new reservation will be implemented in 40,000 colleges across 900 universities in the country from this academic year. The number of seats will be increased by 10 per cent," he said.
Modi said his government was committed to provide equal opportunities to all the sections of the society.
Talking about the Ayushman Bharat, Modi said an average of 10,000 poor people are getting the treatment free under the health scheme.
"Fifty crore poor have got the confidence that the government is with them and in the event of serious ailments, they will not have to mortgage their house, their land (for getting treatment).
"Even if they have no money, they can get healthy: every poor has got this confidence. This (Ayushman Bharat) policy is also called Modicare," he said.
Its success can be estimated from the fact that within just 100 days, seven lakh poor have availed treatment under the scheme, Modi said.
"Under the policy, an average 10,000 poor are getting free treatment everyday," Modi said.