‘Centre mulling Muslim quota’

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Centre-mulling-Muslim-quota/articleshow/7238709.cms published on January 8, 2011

LUCKNOW: The Centre is seriously considering a proposal for granting reservation to Muslims in all India service examination.

According to Salman Khurshid, Union minister for minority welfare, the modalities for the quota within the backward quota were being worked out between his department and the ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

“Mukul Wasnik and I are working at it,” Khurshid said without disclosing the deadline, and categorically announced that he was “committed and would ensure the implementation of the long standing demand.”

There are number of models to choose from, Khurshid elaborated and named three states; Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, which have taken the lead. “All these models are being studied and the best suited will finally be picked up. We are not demanding creation of a different category for reservation, but the minorities will be accommodated within the existing limits of 27 per cent reservation set aside for the backward class by the constitution,” he said.

Already the Centre has made special arrangements for coaching and apart from Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia 40 other institutes and organisations have been empanelled for the purpose, the minister added.

And even though experts and activists dismissed this as yet another pre- election gimmick by the minister, the announcement obviously made with an eye on the vote bank politics could score brownie points for the Congress. Khurhsid himself admitted that 65 per cent of Muslims in UP belonged to the backward class.

Interestingly, the former UPCC chief had a word of praise for the BSP government, which he said has done an excellent job by setting up ITIs last year. However, he rued lack of communication and dialogue between the Centre and the state. “I am prepared to go the extra mile for the public,” he said.

Sounding critical of governmental apathy to pressing public issues, the minister pointed out that despite a visit by the Central team for taking stock of the flood-hit areas of Moradabad, the state government has not sent any proposal seeking a rehabilitation package. “I had received a letter from the Union agriculture minister who noted this point,” Khurshid said.

“The department of minority welfare,” he said, has already spent Rs 2,500 crore in various schemes in the state and would be spending another Rs 1000 crore this year.

The minister also stated that the draft of the companies bill, which is expected to replace the old bill passed in 1956, is ready along with the blue print of an International Financial Reporting system. Consultations with corporate houses and experts are underway and both are expected to be cleared soon (possibly in the next budget session), he said.

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