Ne Delhi: The All India Catholic Union (AICU) has welcomed the new programme announced by the central government for minorities and said Christians should not be deprived of the benefits of schemes for the uplift of dalits. "These schemes will serve their purpose if they reach out to the smaller minorities such as Christians and specially Christians of Scheduled Caste origin," John Dayal, president of AICU, said in a statement.
"We appeal to the government to include Christians of Scheduled Caste origin – Dalit Christians as they are popularly known – in schemes that are made for Dalits of other religions so they can benefit from the policies announced by the government." Addressing a joint session of parliament Thursday, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had unveiled the government’s 15-point programme for the minorities and backward classes.
He had announced the government would consider reservations in private unaided educational insttutions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classesThe government is also considering the introduction of bills to "socially and economically empower Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes and religious minorities". The new minority affairs ministry will focus on the problems of all minorities, including religious minorities.