New Delhi, Feb 5: At a time when Congress is making a serious bid to rope in people from the backward Muslim community in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Law Minister Salman Khurshid has made a strong pitch for sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes.
“Government is within its legitimate rights to make sub-categorisation among the OBCs, which would lead to more equitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes/communities included in the broad category of OBC,” the Minister said.
In an article in the latest issue of the party's official mouthpiece ‘Congress Sandesh', Khurshid quoted extensively from reports of Sachar Commission, Rangnath Mishra Commission and the famous Supreme Court judgement in the Indira Sawhney and others versus Union of India and others to hammer home his point.
Apparently to buttress the point that the talk about sub-castes among OBC is not something new, the Union Minister has pointed out that while 30 states and Union Territories have their own list of OBCs in the state list, nine states have sub-categories in the state list of OBCs.
Citing the findings of Sachar Committee that went into the issue of the socio-economic backwardness of Muslims, Khurshid says in the statement, “Sachar Committee also had recommended for affirmative action for Muslims in India through separate reservation.”
Khurshid said although the backward sections of minority population were included in the central list of OBC, there has been a growing demand over the last two decades that a separate quota was required for the minorities given the fact that major sections of minorities are most backward in the country.
The minister also pointed out that the Sachar Committee held that by clubbing all categories of Muslims in an all-encompassing OBC list, the Mandal Commission that provided 27 reservation for OBCs, “overlooked disparity in the nature of deprivations” that some sections of the community faced.
“Sachar Committee mentioned that it would be most appropriate if they were absorbed in the SC list or at least in a separate category, Most Backward Classes (MBCs) carved out of the OBCs,” Khurshid said.
In the poll-manifesto released for Uttar Pradesh some days back, Congress promised minorities timely implementation of the UPA government's policy of 4.5 per cent quota in central government jobs, PSUs and educational institutions.
The party has also mentioned of providing a sub quota for the minorities in Uttar Pradesh as part of OBC quota in state government jobs and educational institutions commensurate to their population.
The manifesto also talks about special provisions for the MBCs.
Justifying the 4.5 reservation given to the backward minorities from the 27 OBC quota in central government jobs and admission, the Law Minister said in the article, “only backward sections of the community can avail of the 4.5 per cent sub quota. Therefore the inclusion or the exclusion in the central list of OBC list will be strictly on the basis of backwardness of minorities.”
The journal also also mentioned the January 4 decision of the Union Cabinet in which a proposal was cleared to fill pending vacancies of the SC/ST and OBCs in central government -- a move that will benefit around 50,000 people.
“The proposal, discussed and approved in the Cabinet meeting comes soon after the government decision to allow 4.5 per cent reservation to the minorities within the OBC quota,” the journal said.