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Affirmative actions key to empowerment of Muslims: PA Inamdar
Friday November 1, 2013 10:44 AM, Ather Shazan,

Reacting on the findings and recommendations of Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee on the socio, economic and educational status of Muslims in Maharashtra, noted educationalist P. A. Inamdar on Friday said affirmative actions, both by the government as well as by the community, are key for the revival of the beleaguered community.

"The government should act on the recommendations of the Mehmoodur Rehman Committee and announce an action plan for the revival of the Muslims in Maharashtra. At the same time, the Muslim community should also realise its responsibilities and render services for its empowerment", P.A. Inamdar, Founder President of Pune's Azam Campus said while talking to

"The community should stop depending fully on government. It should divert all its attention and efforts at least for next fifteen years for educating the Muslim masses", he said.

He said that the needed awareness vis-à-vis importance of education and desire to excel and prosper are already there in the community. But, since a good majority of Muslims are not sufficiently strong financially, they are unable to take benefits from available opportunities.

"At one time, Maharashtra had just four engineering and three medical colleges. Today it has 375 engineering and 42 medical colleges. Admissions to these institutions are possible even without any reservation. But, since a large proportion of Muslim population is poor, they cannot afford to pay the fees and take advantage of these available opportunities", he said.

"As a remedy to this problem", he said, "The government should increase scholarship amount, and in line with SCs/STs, it should grant scholarships to all Muslim students who apply for them", he said supporting similar recommendation made by Mehmoodur Rehman Committee.

He also demanded expansion of the OBC list to include extremely deprived strata of Muslim community, inclusion of Dalit Muslims into the scheduled caste category and anti-discrimination Act in line with the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for Muslims as recommended by Mehmoodur Rehman committee.

"More than 85% Muslims in Maharashtra are those who are backwards and are lacking in all sorts. The government should expand the current OBC list to include this vast majority, and establish Equal Opportunity commission so that this marginalised section is also brought to mainstream", he said.

Reiterating his advice to the Muslims to realise their responsibilities, he urged them to work to bring the community out of the inferiority complex.

"Our youth are no less in skills and talent than any other community. They have all the potential to compete with others. What they need is to come out of the shell and inferiority complex", he said.

Highlighting the revolution in IT and computer field, he urged the Muslims to take advantage and get linked with technology.

"The revolution in Information Technology has made our task easier. It has become necessary that all our men, women and children are computer literate and are able to effectively use the technology so as to avail advantage of the available openings in the fast changing field ", he said.

He also urged the Muslims to realise the importance of educating girls.

"Our last two generations are paying the price for the blunder we did in the past by keeping our girls away from schools and colleges. Time now is to make sure that every girl is in school and goes to college for higher education", he said.

Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee was constituted in 2008 to look into the educational, social and economic backwardness of Muslims in Maharashtra. The committee submitted its 312 pages report to the government of Maharashtra on October 21. In one of its major findings, the committee has said about 60% Muslims in Maharashtra are living below the poverty line, and about 25% of the remaining are marginally above the poverty line.

Throwing light on the poor educational status of the Muslims in Maharashtra, the committee said, only about 2.2% of total Muslims in Maharashtra complete graduation, and 1.4% Muslim women reach the graduation. It also said that the work participation rate among the Muslims is 32.4% and the women work participation is only 12.7%.

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