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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 05:23:56 PM, PTI
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New Delhi: Government is actively considering reservation for Muslims through the Other Backward Castes (OBC) route, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said.
"We are actively looking at the reservation issue. We have a commitment in our (Congress) manifesto. I am pushing for it all the time. Congress leadership is committed to the issue and there is no shred of doubt about it," he told PTI in an interview here.
Khurshid was replying to questions on whether the government is ready to implement the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission for reservation to Minorities. The Commission, whose report was tabled in Parliament in December last year, had recommended 10 per cent reservation for Muslims and five per cent for other minorities in government jobs.
The Commission had also suggested an alternative route for reservation to the minorities if there is "insurmountable difficulty" in implementing the recommendation for 15 per cent reservation.
According to the Mandal Commission report, minorities constitute 8.4 per cent of the total OBC population.
So in the 27 per cent OBC quota, an 8.4 per cent sub-quota should be earmarked for minorities of which 6 per cent should be for Muslims.
"They (Mishra Commission) are saying either do it as 15 per cent or as share of 27 per cent. We are moving on the second option," Khurshid said, adding that this option was also recommended by the Sachar Committee, which looked into the issue of the backwardness of Muslims.
Asked whether the UPA is ruling out the first option of giving 15 per cent reservation to minorities as a while, Khurshid said, "Not ruling out the first option, we are moving on the second option."
The Minority Affairs Minister said that though his ministry is not the one to decide over the issue, he was in constant touch with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as they they are the ones who have to do it.
"I am obviously involved in the conceptualisation of this," he said.
Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi had reportedly assured a delegation of Muslim leaders in May this year that modalities for providing reservation to Muslims would be worked out in six months. The party is learnt to be in favour of providing reservations to minorities on the lines of the quota structure that is already in place in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has 3.5 per cent reservation for Muslims within 27 per cent quota for backward castes, while Congress ruled Andhra Pradesh has given 4 per cent reservation to Muslims, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
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