The minority affairs ministry has recommended to the home ministry to consider one of the two options contained in the Ranganath Misra report on reservation for minorities at the national level — a poll promise of the Congress.
The proposal, submitted recently, recommends rejigging the 27% “quota” in jobs and education for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) so that more underprivileged Muslims, among minorities, find room. The OBCs are a clutch of 1,963 disadvantaged groups.
“There is, in the Constitution, a clear promise of reservation on the basis of backwardness. We have recommended rationalisation of the OBC quota,” minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid said.
The clamour for reservation among India's 150-million Muslims has grown louder after the high-level Sachar report highlighted stark disadvantages faced by the community and the Misra panel proposed reservations as the way forward.
The Ranganath Misra-led National Commission on Backward Religious and Linguistic Minorities recommended 15% reservation for minorities — of which 10% for Muslims — in education and jobs. In case this is difficult to achieve, it proposes breaking up of the 27% quota to give minorities an 8.4% share, of which 6% for Muslims.
“Several states have extended such benefits, such as Karnataka and Andhra. Each model is different. A nationally model will have to be found. We are committed on this,” Khurshid said.
To implement 15% reservation, the UPA government will have to pull off a bill that will require approval of 2/3rd majority in both Houses. Juggling the OBC quota, or even extending the SC status to Dalit Muslims and Christians will require a bill passed by simple majority, which is relatively easy.