Following the recommendations of Ranganath Mishra commission, the West Bengal government has announced a 10 per cent reservation for muslims in government jobs.
Declaring the policy decision at the state secretariat on Monday, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee ruled out bestowing the benefits on the creamy layer of the muslim community.
“Those families which earn more than Rs 4.5 lakh per annum will not be eligible,” said Bhattacharjee.
However, student intake for government and government-aided schools will be kept out of the reservations temporarily. The final decision on students will be taken by a committee.
Bhattacharjee announced the decision to set up a committee of members of minority development department and backward classes welfare department to pinpoint and suggest which groups would be eligible for reservations.
West Bengal is the first government in the country to announce reservation for minorities following the commission’s report.
The Centre is yet to table the action taken report.
Technically, the 10 per cent job quota for muslims would be subsumed within the OBC category. Therefore, the 7 per cent quota for OBCs is being expanded to 17 per cent in Bengal.
“We’ll implement the decision as soon as possible,” said the chief minister.
Last year the Bengal’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) bore the brunt of a section of minority votes swinging away from them in the Lok Sabha elections.
“What to do, the report was placed just a few days ago,” said Bhattacharjee answering a question whether the prompt decision was triggered by the elections in Bengal.
During the meeting of its state secretariat and central committee in Kolkata last week, the PI(M) had welcomed the Ranganath Mishra Commission report.
On Monday Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also announced the administration is setting up a committee to find out ways to keep the creamy layer out of the reservation.
The CPI(M) has always been vocal against reservation benefits accruing to the creamy layers.
Incidentally, on Monday a seven-member constitutional bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed a legislation providing four per cent reservation for muslims in education and jobs.
The Ranganath Mishra Commission report was submitted to the government in May 2007.