//Sachar panel mulls Muslim quota

Sachar panel mulls Muslim quota

Diptosh Majumdar, CNN-IBN, November 02, 2006

New Delhi: The Justice Rajendra Sachar Panel report on the social, economic and educational status of Indian Muslims makes a strong case for reservation for Muslims.

CNN-IBN has exclusive access to the recommendations made by the panel, which suggest that the economic status of Muslims was below that of OBcs and in some instances, even dalits.

The Indian Express was the first newspaper to publish the data-based findings of the Sachar Panel.

The panel says madrassa education is not the future and suggests setting up of more English and Urdu-medium government schools in Muslim-dominated areas. It also argues in favour of allocating 15 per cent of funds from different Union Ministries for the welfare of the Muslims.

The panel has also recommended more representation for Muslims in sectors like healthcare and teaching, and sensitisation of all government employees towards the requirements of the community.

The panel, which was appointed by the Prime Minister, will be submitting its report by the middle of this month.

The big issue emerging from the report is reservation for Muslims. While the Sachar panel avoids any reference to it, its silence is more than eloquent in a chapter on the OBCs. In this chapter, the general non-OBC Muslim is shown to be living in more degraded condition than the Hindu OBC. This, experts say, makes a strong case for reservation for the entire Muslim community, barring the Creamy Layer.

Insiders in the Sachar Panel have told CNN-IBN that there is a way to introduce the recommendations. Muslim intellectuals are of the opinion that out of the 27 per cent reservations for OBCs, at least 10 per cent should be reserved for Muslims (except the Creamy Layer). However, this recommendation has not made it to the final report of the panel.

Recommendations of Sachar Panel
Some key highlights of the recommendations are:
bullet Sachar panel finds that madrassa education is not the future. It wants more English and Urdu medium government schools in areas dominated by Muslims.
bullet It also argues in favour of allocating 15 per cent of all Government funds to Muslims under all central schemes.
bullet The panel wants more representation for Muslims in sectors like health and teaching.
bullet It also recommends sensitisation of all government employees towards Muslim requirements.
bullet But the big issue is reservation for Muslims. While Sachar panel avoids any reference to it, its silence is more than eloquent in a chapter on OBCs.
bullet In this chapter, the general non-OBC Muslim is shown to be living in more degraded condition than the Hindu OBC.
bullet Thereby a strong case is made for reservations for the entire Muslim community except the Creamy Layer.

Minority benefits not trickling down: PM

With a nationwide debate on the status of Muslims gaining momentum, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday made several observations on the problems faced by the minority community.

"Available evidence shows that benefits of the schemes meant for the minorities are not reaching out to the Muslim sector," Manmohan Singh said.