From pre-school education till higher education, there will be a special package for Muslims, minister of state for HRD, MAA Fatimi, announced on Wednesday. And, the government will also examine the demand for reservation for Dalit Muslims on the lines of reservation for Scheduled Caste Hindus.
Talking to reporters after a two-day meeting with Muslims MPs, intellectuals and leaders on the recommendations of Sachar Panel report, Fatimi said: "I want to assure Muslims that this time government is serious about initiating action for upliftment of Muslims. By January 10, we will submit a detailed action plan for providing education to Muslims from ‘anganwadi till higher education’ to the Planning Commission for preparing specific projects in the 11th Five-Year-Plan for the community".
The call for more good quality schools and colleges for Muslims and teaching them in their mother tongue were made by the participants, he said. On the Sachar Panel recommendation for recognising degrees or diplomas awarded by madarsas, Fatimi said the government was examining setting up of Central Madarsa Board in consultation with religious leaders to legitimise madarsa education. "A paper is being prepared but there is no consensus on the issue so far," he informed.
On the controversial issue of reservation to Dalit Muslims, Fatimi appeared positively inclined towards the demand, made by majority of the participants. "In 1950, the minorities were removed from the purview of reservation to the Scheduled Castes. Later, neo-Buddhists and Sikhs were brought under SC reservation ambit but Muslims were denied the benefit," he said. And, added that the issue will be examined by the government. Reservation to Dalit Muslims has also been recommended by the Sachar panel.
At the first meeting of the committee to prepare an action-plan to implement Sachar panel recommendations, the participants also demanded special scholarships and loan at lower interest rates for Muslim students to reap benefit for education. HRD minister Arjun Singh had constituted the committee headed by Fatimi to examine the Sachar Panel report.