The HRD Minister Arjun Singh has made his mind on how the community should be helped. Singh has suggested Dalit Muslims should not be given reservation benefit in the Schedule Caste (SC) category but be continued in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) bracket.
Ahead of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, most Central ministers have been reluctant to speak on reservation for Muslims. Singh though has made his stand clear. “Dalit quota has its own background and its own philosophy behind it, so it is good to take it on hand and try to see how far it can be adjusted in the OBC quota," he said.
Dalit Muslims are currently in the backward classes list, but the Sachar committee has recommended that they either be included in the SC list or put in a separate “sub quota”.
Singh constituted a committee within the HRD ministry to study the Sachar panel’s recommendations and sent the suggestions to the PM’s office.
Singh was last year successful in increasing reservation for OBCs in higher educational institutes funded by the government. Apart from this, Singh has indicated that he would introduce a new Bill to ensure reservation for OBCs in educational institutions not aided by the Government. The Bill will be introduced in the current Budget session of Parliament. “If it comes in this session, I will be presenting it to Parliament and then it has to decide,” said Singh. The Bill to reserve seats for OBCs in government institutes has already been challenged in the Supreme Court, but Singh is not deterred.
The Prime Minister’s Office is preparing an action taken report on the Rajinder Sachar committee’s report on the status of Muslims in India. It has already held discussions with the Social Justice Ministry and is waiting for a report from the National Commission for Linguistic Minorities before deciding on reservation for on Dalit Muslims.