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PM favours 'fair share' for minorities

PM says he wants a fair share of jobs for minorities, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 18:45 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday stressed on minorities getting a "fair share" in government and private jobs.

Singh's emphasis on the "fair share" comes around the same time that Justice Rajendra Sachar panel is finalising its report on the socio-economic status of Muslims.

There has been a view that the report would end up making out a case for job reservations for minorities even if the panel makes no such specific recommendation.

Data collated by the panel would, for instance, bring out the fact that socio-economic indicators for Muslims were below those for OBCs, who have had job reservations post-Mandal.

But in his speech at the conference of state minority commissions on Thursday, the prime minister gave no indication that he had job reservations for minorities in mind.

Singh identified lack of access to the common school system as the "main factor" responsible for socio-economic backwardness of the minority communities, particularly in case of Muslim girls.

"We have to provide the minority youth skills which will enable them to get their legitimate share in employment, both in the public sector and in the private sector," the prime minister said.

Also, the PM's 15-point programme that was launched recently had only spoken of "special consideration" to minorities besides an exclusive scheme to coach students from minority communities in government and private institutes to prepare them to the job market.

National Commission for Minority chairman Hamid Ansari treated the 15-point programme as an expression of the UPA government's desire to apply correctives but emphasised that the critical problem always had been one of "implementation".

The prime minister acknowledged this was a problem. Singh noted that there were a large number of developmental schemes to address specific problems for the poor and underprivileged.

"However, available evidence does not inspire confidence that the benefits of these schemes have flowed equitably to the eligible sections amongst our minorities," he said.

The prime minister also used the opportunity to hit out at the Hindutva idea advocated by the right-wing parties, stressing that India would remain a pluralistic country where "socio-religious variety" was respected.

"This nation does not belong to any single race, least of all to any group of religious extremists," he said urging people to "work for a systematic reconstruction of our multi-racial policy and society".

"In a pluralistic society like ours, national identity cannot be adjudged by any litmus test simply showing cent per cent homogeneity because unlike many other monoracial, monoreligious and monolingual countries, a cent per cent homogenous society had never existed and does not exist in India."


First Published: Nov 02, 2006 13:18 IST