Doubtful about implementing the minorities commission
recommendations, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurhseed Monday
said the government was considering quota for backward classes among
Muslims within the existing 27 percent reservations for Other
Backward Classes (OBC).
However, striking a cautious note, Khursheed 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 told IANS.
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 percent reservations for all minorities in jobs,
education and welfare schemes.
The panel, constituted in October
2004, has recommended 10 percent, of the 15 percent 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,” Khursheed said.
Asked if a religion-based quota was in
accordance with the constitution, Khursheed said the panel had the
former Supreme Court judge as its head and “the report cannot be
“We need to study it thoroughly and
see what can be implemented. As of now I cannot say a clear yes or
no,” he said.
He said the government was also
“considering other models available to it for providing reservation
“Inclusion of backward classes of the
minorities in the existing 27 percent structure of the OBC can be a
possibility and the government is considering it,” he said.
The Mishra report says 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” (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes),
according to the document.
Of India’s 1.2 billion population,
Muslims are the largest minority at 14 percent followed by
Christians at 2.3 percent, Sikhs at 1.9 percent, Buddhists at 0.8
percent, Jains at 0.4 percent and others including Parsis at 0.6