Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Khurshid moots Muslim share in OBC quota pie


Khurshid moots Muslim share in OBC quota pie

22 Dec 2009, 0540 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: In a move that could anger the powerful OBC leadership, the
minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid has mooted a controversial
— awarding quota for backward classes among Muslims within the
existing 27% reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The development that would make another grouping eligible for the 27%
OBC quota is certain to be opposed by their leaders. On his part, the
minister expressed his doubts about the implementation of the
recommendations of the Ranganath Commission report, the trigger for
the demand for reservation for minorities and Hindu converts. Striking
a cautious note, Mr Khurshid said the report by the National
Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which was tabled in
Parliament last week, cannot be rejected outrightly.
"I have doubts about the implementation of its recommendations, but it
needs to be studied," the minister said. The commission, headed by
Justice Ranganath Mishra, former chief justice of India, has defined
religious and linguistic minorities in India as backward classes and
recommended 15% reservations for all minorities in jobs, education and
welfare schemes.
The panel, constituted in October 2004, has recommended 10%, of the
15% quota, for Muslims — the largest minority in the country — in
government jobs, educational institutions and social welfare schemes.
"Now the report is out in public, we need a debate over it. Full
Cabinet has to consider it. We will examine it with sincerity," Mr
Khurshid said.
The minister also refused to comment on whether the proposal for
religious quota was in accordance with the Constitution. The minister
said the panel had the former Supreme Court judge as its head and "the
report cannot be dismissed outrightly. We need study it thoroughly and
see what can be implemented. As of now I cannot say a clear yes or
no," he said. The Mishra report has said that Indian minorities —
"especially the Muslims — are very much under-represented, and
sometimes wholly unrepresented" in government jobs. "Educational
levels of Muslims and Buddhists are low and next to SC/ST".

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