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Govt mulling Muslim reservation via OBC quota

The govt is considering reservation for Muslims through OBC route, Khurshid said.



New Delhi: The 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 said 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 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 are the ones who have to do it.

"I am obviously involved in the conceptualisation of
this," he said.

Congress president 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.

PTI

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