Widening the jobs and educational opportunities to the millions of its citizens in a cost effective manner should be the national priority for India in the new millennium. Muslims constitute a large segment of those Indians who continue to suffer due to lack of proper education. The literacy levels amongst the Muslim are the lowest, as has been authenticated by Sachar Panel. Thus they have a long way to go before they can catch up with the rest of the country.
Due to the educational backwardness Muslims are not able to participate in the economic development. In jobs many times they face discrimination, which has led to their negligible presence in Government services, even at the lowest levels, where education does not matter. With this social handicap, they can look for any respectable level of participation only with effective instruments of support by the Government. Removal of religion based discriminatory Clause 3 under Artcle 341 of the Constituiton, creating a Separate Subgroup within the OBC reservation and launch of a Special Component Plan for Muslims of a reasonable size of Rs. 25,000 crores annually, seems logical and absolutely necessary steps.
In the changing dynamics of world order and the emergence of knowledge societies, where the emergence of private sector in playing an important role in education, jobs and new enterprises, the importance of quality education is further enhanced. Thus providing quality education to 30 million Muslims to bring them into national mainstream is a major challenge for the Government.
In view of the increasing marginalisation of Muslims in social and economic spheres over a period of time, the feeling is growing that Muslim youths may loose faith in the system and about their future. Thus, there is urgent need for attention by the Government, intellegentia and the political system to devise suitable measures to address their issues and grievances, and more importantly take effective steps to ensure their participation in the mainstream education and social and economic development.
The question of social opportunity and public policy needs to be answered keeping in view the poor economic development of the community. If fair representation in jobs, education and resources allocation is ensured, it will have strong cascading effects on the development of the community. Keeping in view the above dynamics and based on the wide spread consultations among the community leaders; and the discussions held at the India Islamic Centre, New Delhi on the occiaison of Felicitation of Muslim Minsters and newely elect MPs on 9th June, 09, the following recommendations have emerged: 1. No Reservation but Correction of the religion based discriminatory Clause (3) under Article 341 of the Constitution, which was imposed by a Presidential Order 1950. The existence of this Clause contradicts the secular character of our constitution, which is mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitutuion and guarnteed under Artcle 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution "that no discrimination will be made to its citizens based on gender, caste, religion etc. And yet Muslims and Christens face religion based discrimination under this infamous Presidential Order 1950.
2. No Reservation but Fair Share under the OBC quota, wherein based on the Mandal Commmission recommendations, Muslims OBC castes constitute one third (8.4%) of the 27%. Muslims, like Hindus MBCs, have also not got their share in OBC reservation, as few powerful castes take away the chunk of the OBC quota, say Yadavs in Northern India. Therefore based on the South pattern of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and AP, Advanced OBCs, MBCs and Muslim OBCs may be given Quota within Quota, as per their share. This will be in total conformity with the spirit of reservation, where all get Justice, a Just and a Fair Share.
3. No Reservation but Affirmative Actions for their effective participation in the national mainstream by accessing education and economic opportunities through a set of Affirmative Actions. Through Special Component Plan of Rs. 25,000 crores, an annual budget of Rs. 15,000 crores may be created for Modernisation of the Madarsa Educational Network and for opening new educational institutions for Muslims under 85:15 ratio, wherein 85% grant is by GOI and 15% by the host. Another Budget of Rs. 10,000 crores to be created for their large scale skills development programs, creation of small enterprises and other economic opportunities.
4. No Reservation but Equitable Distribution under the spendings by all economic ministries of the Central Government. The apppoitnment of a Monitoring Officer in each ministry or mandating the Ministry of Minority Affairs to ask for status report on quarterly basis of the adherence to the 15% spendings for minorities (10% exclusively for Muslims) will serve the purpose.
5. Safety, Security and Sensitivity towards minorities. Suitable law may be passed by the Parliament for the protection of minorities by covering them under the Criminal Act, on par with the SC/ST Criminal Act. This will ensure that harassment and profiling of minorities is not done. And in cases of riots, blasts and terrorist activities, even before the preliminary investigations are done, some Muslim names are flashed in media, which not only affects the investigations, but create very negative perception about Muslims in the society. Similalry, in cases of riots, Strict Punishment to those responsible and Dettering Compensation to the victims, (Rs. 25 lacs and jobs to the dependents of the victims), will stop any riots in future.
We believe that if these measures are taken by the UPA Government, then Muslims will be able to effectively participate in the national mainstream and contribute to the economic progress and double digit growth of the nation.
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