Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told the Ministry of Minority Affairs to accelerate the pace of implementation of the 15-point programme for minorities at the meeting of the Union Cabinet on Thursday.
The prime minister’s observation came during the review of the implementation of the special programme for minorities by the Union Cabinet, the second in less than three months.
“The Prime Minister observed that while indeed there had been progress, it needs to be further accelerated,” the finance minister P. Chidambaram later told reporters. The review was timed just days ahead of the special Lok Sabha session next week, ostensibly to counter concerns that political parties and MPs supporting the Manmohan Singh government on the Indo-US nuclear deal might alienate a section of the Muslim community that is against a strategic relationship between Delhi and Washington.
It was to address concerns of the hawks that even the Indian Union Muslim League, that is part of the UPA government, last week spoke of its reservations on the nuclear deal. But in the same breath, IUML leader, E. Ahmed, made it a point to speak of the steps taken by the UPA government to benefit minorities to explain the party’s decision to back the trust vote next week. The government seems determined to ensure that the minorities do not forget the steps taken by the government to give them a better deal.