New Delhi: The government on Monday asserted that it was unequivocally committed to upholding the principles as laid down in the Constitution by the founding fathers, including BR Ambedkar, and said it had no problems if the private sector also gives reservation.
The government is also in favour of reservation in promotions, Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot said in the Lok Sabha.
"If the corporates willingly create an atmosphere for giving reservation, we will have no problem," he said.
Replying to the debate on demand for grants for 2016-17 for his ministry, Gehlot sought cooperation of opposition members in creating an atmosphere whereby private sector also endorses reservation policies.
The demand for grant was later passed by voice vote.
"My appeal to you all is that at your level, all of you also try to create an atmosphere for such reservation in the private sector," he made a request in the house.
Raking up the controversy pertaining to University of Hyderabad, where a Dalit research scholar allegedly committed suicide, Gehlot asked Congress leaders whether their leaders had visited the university earlier ever.
"If Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress floor leader) answers my question, I will yield. Otherwise he has to listen to me," he said amid a protest from Congress members.
Taking potshots at the Congress, he said, "In today's Congress, while there are many Gandhis, the party has abandoned the path of Mahatma Gandhi", and said the party should desist from spreading caste conflicts.
The minister said the government was firm that it will tread the path as laid down by Ambedkar.
"I want to make it clear that there is no proposal whatsoever to end reservation. Reservation has stayed and it will continue," he asserted.
Responding to the demand for reservation in promotion raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Gehlot said "the government is in favour of reservation in promotions", but went on to add in the same breadth, "there are many in the Congress party who are not in favour of the same".
"Even the UPA government tried to bring a bill on this. But they could not," he said.
"If the Congress can give in writing that it favoured reservation in promotion (for members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes), the government will push forward the proposal," Gehlot said, adding that the real challenge was to create the right atmosphere for such decisions.
Seeking to put the ball in the BJP's court, Kharge said that at present, the NDA government has the majority and it should try to push the proposal so that members of the SCd, STd and OBCd may get the benefit of reservation in promotion.
Several members also raised the issue that members of the SCs and STs communities were not adequately represented in higher judiciary and corporate sector.
"I want to inform the house that is committed to uphold the values of B.R. Ambedkar and is committed to the Constitution of India. We believe a true social justice is possible only when all citizens of this country equal opportunities in economic sector, social, education and inner satisfaction," the minister said.