Govt didn't consult panel on sub-quota

Minority commission chief favours affirmative action

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has said the decision to carve out 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities from OBC reservation was not discussed with it.

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The panel also feels that quota in government jobs can’t solve the problems of minority communities in India. NCM chief Wajahat Habib­ullah’s admission comes at a time when the issue of reservation for minorities is turning into a political controversy.

Habibullah said that the Central government had held consultations with NCM on the issue of giving reservation to backward castes from minority communities, but the organisation was not in the loop about the quantum of sub-quota for minorities.

 “The percentage of giving reservation to backward castes from minorities was not discussed by the government with NCM. However, general consultations on the issue took place between government and NCM and we had given our opinion,” Habibullah told Deccan Herald.

Habibullah also opined that reservation in government jobs cannot be the panacea for the problems of minority communities in India. The chief of the minority panel said more than reservation, the focus of the government should be on affirmative actions for the marginalised sections of the society.

“I am not in favour of reservation policy per se. I am in favour of some affirmative actions for the marginalised sections of the society as done in US,” Habibullah said.

He, however, asserted that since there is a reservation policy in our country aimed at backward classes belonging to various communities then why should any community be left out? It is with this idea in mind about the backward castes or classes belonging to minority communities that the government created sub-quota for minorities within reservation for OBCs.

Reservation for minorities in government jobs and institutions is turning into a political controversy after the Union government created 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities from within the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.

The issue has certain relevance for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims, the largest minority community constitute 18 per cent of  the state population. Muslims voters in the country’s largest and most populous state are the deciding factor on almost 110 of 403 Assembly constituencies in the state.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also courted controversy for promising 9 per cent reservation to Muslims in government jobs, if the Congress came to power in Uttar Pradesh.

The Election Commission served a show cause notice to Khurshid describing his remarks as violation of model code of conduct; Khurshid had made the promise while campaigning for his wife in Farrukhabad.

To woo Muslim voters, the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav has promised job reservation to the Muslims on the basis of population—which comes to 18 per cent.
Describing such announcements as “minority appeasement” the BJP in its manifesto for UP Assembly polls said that it was against the announced 4.5 per cent reservation for minorities.

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