A high-level central panel on minorities has recommended a 5 per cent education cess on income from Wakf properties throughout the country to be spent on providing modern education for Muslim children.
The panel wants legislative measures to empower the Central Wakf Council to collect the cess on income from Wakf properties and use the money for providing modern education to Muslim students. Wakf is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognised by Muslim law.
The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities also asked the government to make it compulsory for madrasas to run another school providing modern education up to the high school level.
The commission has also pushed for a law, giving institutions of higher learning, like the Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Hamdard University, a special responsibility to promote educational advancement of the community.
The panel — chaired by Justice Ranganath Misra — formally submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week. It was constituted to spell out welfare measures for minorities and come out with its view on controversial issues like job and education reservation for minorities.
These three recommendations form part of the section on special measures for Muslims, the largest segment of minorities and the most backward. Given the opposition from a section of the Muslim community to an earlier panel’s recommendation to constitute a Central Madrasa Board, it is expected the commission’s recommendations would not be without its share of critics.
Tahir Mahmood, NCRLM member, hinted he wasn’t losing sleep over any possible reaction on the report. "We have recommended with the best of intentions. How the community reacts to this, I haven’t geared to it. We recommended what was right," he said, responding to a query from the Hindustan Times.
The commission clearly shared the Prime Minister’s concern over the low literacy level among the Muslim and sought to get the community involved. "The AMU today runs only two schools, Jamia Hamdard has one… from where will they get the students. These institutions must run schools that act as feeders," Mahmood explained.