Sending out a political message ahead of the upcoming and crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasised on the UPA government's policy skew towards backward communities and minorities, saying several recommendations of the Justice Sachar Committee recommendations have been incorporated in schemes announced by the central government.
"The recommendations of the Justice Sachar committee are being implemented and these initiatives are bringing about a positive change as well. These initiatives need to be speeded up," the Prime Minister said at a Dalit and minorities international conference organised by former union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
"I have often heard people saying that the government has not implemented the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. I wish to state here today that this is not true," the Prime Minister said in his inaugural speech.
Referring to the cabinet decision on the allocation of a 4.5% sub-quota for minorities in the existing Other Backward Caste quota for government jobs, Manmohan Singh said R3,884 package for the handloom sector, which includes one-time waiver of overdue loans and interests, will benefit around three lakh weavers and 15,000 cooperative societies.
The social targeting in the PM's speech was apparent as a majority of the weavers in poll-bound UP belong to the Muslim community.
In the past four years, there has been an increase in the recruitment of minorities in government jobs, security forces and even in the banking sector, he said, adding the loans for such communities in priority sector has also risen from 9% to 15% in this period.
Speaking at the conference later, Paswan demanded reservations in the private sector and in the judiciary as well. He also referred to the ongoing lokpal debate, suggesting the government must not succumb to the pressure tactics of Team Anna.
"The office of the Prime Minister cannot be brought under the lokpal and the CBI must remain independent of the proposed ombudsman," he said.