DR. T. SUMATHY (A) THAMIZHACHI THANGAPANDIAN (CHENNAI SOUTH): Thank you very much, Madam, Chairperson, for allowing me to participate in this discussion on the Demands for Grants under the control of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. I am privileged to participate in this discussion since I hail from the State of Tamil Nadu, a pioneer State, which has held the virtues of social justice and empowerment right from its Justice Party days. Madam, I would like to open up my discussion with a saying by a famous German playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht, who has said, “What kind of times are these, when to talk almost about a tree is a crime because it implies silence about so many crimes?” Are these lines not very apt, Madam? In the aftermath of the Delhi riots, by keeping quiet against any kind of injustice, you are again doing injustice in terms of upholding social justice. They say the Battle of Waterloo, wherein Napoleon was defeated, was won by the Etonians, meaning the students who graduated from the School of Eton in London. Similarly, the battle for social justice was won, back in Tamil Nadu, by three legendary Dravidian reformists — Thanthai Periyar, Perarignar Anna, and Dr. Kalaignar. Madam, when I come to the definition of social justice, I am reminded of these three legendary reformists who had upheld these virtues and the baton has now proudly been carried on by my Party President, Thalapathy M.K. Stalin with more fervour and commitment to all the causes espoused by the champions for this avant-garde movement like Ambedkar and Baburao Phule. When I look into the definition of social justice, I would like to quote what the definition says. The social justice is a political and philosophical concept which holds that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, well-being, justice, and opportunity. When we take stock of the aftermath of the Delhi riots, I would like to ask, through you, Madam, that whether all the people have had access for their protection of their lives, whether they have had access to protect their wealth, whether there was justice meted out equally to all the citizens of Delhi, and whether all of them had the equal opportunity to safeguard their lives. The synonyms for social justice are fairness, equity, and integrity. My first demand in this is whether there is fairness in the justice meted out to all the citizens of Delhi. Madam, I know pretty well that I need to talk about the Demands here. But at the same time, to reflect upon the term social justice, is very important in this juncture because — I would like to quote and I quote, “because social justice assigns the rights and duties in the institutions of a society which enable people to receive the basic benefits of cooperation. Social justice helps us works towards celebrating diversity in our communities and countries.” Do we really celebrate diversity in this country now? Suppressing all voices of democratic protests and plural voices, is the present deplorable scenario here. Madam, in Europe, great revolutionaries and rationalists like Voltaire and Rousseau took almost 50 years to awaken their countrymen and prepare them for a revolution. But our Thanthai Periyar took just 20 years to achieve social justice in Tamil Nadu wherein in other countries, all the reformists and rebels have taken centuries to achieve such aims. Madam, I would like to place it on record the track record of all the achievements that Tamil Nadu has done in the field of social justice and empowerment. The First Constitutional Amendment of Article 15 Clause 4 — that gives powers to Government to provide reservation in education — was done due to the relentless fight in Tamil Nadu way back in 1950. Dr. Kalaignar continued to protect the constitutional rights of SCs, STs, minorities, backward, and most backward communities by following 50 per cent reservation. He was instrumental in getting the inner reservation for Arunthathiyar community. When our Party President, Thalapathy M.K. Stalin was the Minister for Local Bodies and Administration, he was instrumental in filling-up all the vacancies which were reserved for the inner reservation of the Arunthathiyar community, particularly for the women vacancies in an effective way. Dr. Kalaignar was the first one to propose and implement reservation for destitute women, physically challenged persons, and for the transgenders. He brought the 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies, and 30 per cent reservation for women in Government jobs. The Tamil Nadu Government during his days and at present, provides 69 per cent reservation, for which the then Chief Minister, Dr. Kalaignar was instrumental. Madam, they say that all are equal, but some are more equal than others. In order to have a fair and balanced equality, I urge the Government to bring a reservation Act for OBCs, SCs, and STs and to place it in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution. I am proud to remind here that the Government of Tamil Nadu, headed by Dr. Kalaignar, was the first Government to create a separate Ministry for Backward Classes way back in 1969. I wish to bring to the notice of this august House a matter of very urgent importance. The three-member expert committee on Creamy Layer for OBCs is needless and unwarranted since we already have a constitutional body, the National Commission on Backward Classes to look after the OBC’s related issues. It is sad to note that in that Committee not a single member is from the OBC. To determine a creamy layer on the basis of salaried income only and to remove Groups A and B is unjustifiable and could eliminate the deserving candidates belonging to the OBCs. That is why, our dear Dr. Kalaignar called the creamy layer as the `kirumi’ layer’. `Kirumi’ in Tamil means virus in English. The Government has totally ignored the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Welfare of OBCs dated 9.3.2019. (…interruptions) Madam, I am the only speaker from my Party. Therefore, I urge the Ministry to reject the three-member Expert Committee and advise the National Commission on Backward Classes to look into the issue of various posts in Public Sector Undertakings and on creamy layer. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I wish to record the grave injustice being done to the OBC students in the seat allotments of MBBS and Post-Graduate medical seats under all India quota. Though this issue relates to the Ministry of Health, I want to record this in the discussion under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment since this is a problem related to the implementation of social justice. The 27 per cent reservation mandated by the Government for the OBC students has not been implemented by the Medical Council of India in all India quota seats. This has to be taken note of and the Health Ministry has to take a decision to extend 27 per cent reservation to OBC students and should file in a reply in the Supreme Court. I have got the data about the lack of funds allotted to the post-matric scholarship as well as pre-matric scholarship to all the students. It has to be increased. The inadequate budget allocation under these schemes is because of the gap between the funds decided by the Ministry of Social Justice and those approved by the Ministry of Finance. It should be bridged. Madam, justice delayed is justice denied. The implementation of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in higher educational institutions, funded by the Centre, was delayed by 15 years after the announcement while the same for EWS was done within a month of its announcement. This disparity should be set right. Again, the Ministry of Social Justice has created Dr. Ambedkar Foundation and allotted funds. We are happy and it is a welcome move. Similarly, the Government has to create Thanthai Periyar Foundation for furthering the ideology and message of Thanthai Periyar. Madam, coming to the issue of empowerment of women, we are now in the millennial era talking about empowerment but way back in the 4th century BC when Aristotle was lecturing to his students that women were subjective to men and that men were rulers and women were subjects, it was Augustine, a woman who disguised herself as a man and became the world’s first women doctor. Who was Plato’s teacher? It was Miletus Aspasia who was a woman, celebrated as the first lady of Athens. But here, in this, even after the Government having declared the year 2001 as the year of Women Empowerment, we are still fighting for 33 per cent reservation for women. Is it not a shame? I wish to place on record that reservation is our birth right. It is neither a concession nor any alms given as mercy to us. We want minimum, not maximum, 50 per cent reservation and the Government should take steps to implement the 33 per cent reservation. Dr. Kalaignar implemented 50 per cent reservation for women in urban and local bodies. So, Tamil Nadu is the first State to do so in the whole country. Madam, right is its own defence. I wish to urge the Ministry, through you, to allot more funds for the persons with disabilities. There are 70 million people with disabilities and are physically challenged. The funds allocated is only Rs. 330 crore. The Government should increase the allocation. Also, the funds for the Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Programme should be increased. Under the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana, I have adopted a village by name Sitalapakkam. I urge the Central Ministry to put pressure on the State Government because the Government of Tamil Nadu has sent back the Nirbhaya Fund without properly utilising the whole amount. It is a shame on the AIADMK Government for not having fully utilized the funds. I would like to conclude my speech again with Brecht who said: “Those who take the meat from the table teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men.” With these words, I conclude my speech.