Sachar report may lead to Muslims’ ghettoization: Salman Khursheed
Union Minister of Water Resources and Minorities Affairs, Salman Khurshid, speaking at a function; Moosa Raza, Chairman SIET Trust on extreme left
New Delhi: In an important development, marking a radical shift in the UPA government’s approach, from pre-Sachar to post-Sachar period, the Union Minister of Minorities Affairs Salman Khursheed has questioned, both the credibility of the Sachar report and blind acceptance of its recommendations.
Speaking at a function in Chennai on June 25, Khursheed said that “the recommendations of Sachar Committee Report are not divine like Quran; they can be wrong also and that’s why one must approach them critically.”
Khursheed was delivering a talk on ‘Minorities of India: Issues and Challenges,’ at the Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women.
Explaining his point further Khursheed said, by critical approach he meant that the overall impact and benefits of Sachar report on Muslims must be analyzed before accepting the report in letter and spirit.
Cautioning the community from uncritical following of the Sachar report, Khursheed said that it might benefit the community in the short term but it could also lead to its further ghettoization which will be disastrous for the community in the long term as it will prevent the community’s mainstreaming.
The Rajinder Sachar Committee which appointed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in March 2005, was a high level committee for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India.
The Minister also advised the community not to expect and approach only the Minorities Affairs Ministry (MMA) because the MMA was supposed to cater to the needs of other minorities as well. He implied that the MMA can’t provide solution to each and every problem of Muslims. For some problems they need to approach other ministries as well. For instance Muslims, Khursheed said, should approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD), which had a budget 10 times bigger than that of his ministry.
“The Minorities Affairs Ministry has only Rs 5,000 crore as its budget. If the community is dependent on only this ministry it will be devoid of funds from other ministries like the Ministry of Human Resources Development which has funds of more than Rs 65,000 crore. Moreover, this ministry doesn’t cater only to Muslims,” he added.
Khursheed wanted the Ministry of Minority Affairs to evolve into Ministry for Equal Opportunities, “Once the Equal Opportunities Commission, which was recommended by Sachar report, is finalized we may actually start thinking of a new structure of the ministry,” he added.
Cautioning the Muslim community of limiting themselves only to the community centered issues, Khursheed also exhorted them to think on larger issues like corruption, human rights and Naxalism.
“Why are Muslims silent on the Lokpal issue or on the issue of freedom for Binayak Sen,” he asked.
Khursheed a politician from the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, praised the works done by the community leaders in South in areas of education. He appealed the Muslims of south India to migrate and bridge the north-south divide by opening up quality institutions in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
Talking about the performance of the MMA on pre and post-Matric scholarship, Khursheed said that last year the MMA disbursed 44 lakh scholarships in the pre-matric, five lakh in post-matric categories and 750 PhD scholarships. In the coming year, the MMA will issue 60 lakh matric and post matric and 1,400 PhD scholarships in the coming year.
Importantly the Minister said that, the Central government was contemplating on universalisation of the scholarship with every child qualifying for a scholarship getting it.