A meeting of the Muslim MPs and intellectuals was organised on 14 July, 09 by NEFM at India International Centre in New Delhi to prepare next 5 years Development Agenda for the Community. The meeting, which continued well beyond 10 pm, was chaired by the Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Mr. Salman Khurshhed and participated by several MPs and other eminent persons from the community, as per the list below.
Clarifying the confusion prevailing among muslims on his statements in the press, after assuming the charge as the Minister of Minority Affairs, he said that neither he nor his Government is against the tabulation of the Mishra Commission report in the Parliament for debate, which has given remedy to the ailments, which Sachar Committee had diagnosed. he said that the Government is examining it and will decide appropriately on its timing and presenting ATR.
He suggested that there is need for Muslims to take maximum benefit of the mass sclae schemes such as NREGA, PMEGP, RGURM, RKVY, NRHM etc.., while agreeing fully to the need of Government coming up with a special economic development package for minorities aimed at creating better educational facilities, more employment and skills development for self-employment opportunities.
The demand for removal of religion based discriminatory clause 3 under Article 341, which was imposed by a Presidential Order in 1950 and contradicts the secular character of the Indian Constitution, was forcefully put up by most MPs and other speakers, Mr. Khursheed expressed his agreement. He Said that such religion based discrimination under our secular Constitution has no place in our democratic country while adding that the Government is in seize of the matter and the same has been recommended by the National Schedule Castes Commission, besides Mishra Commission.
Earlier speaking on the occaison, the Members of Parliament totally dismissed the peanut offered to the minorities in the budget. They pointed out that in the budget, the NMDFC and Maulana Azad Foundation budget has been merged and thus the net increase is only Rs. 100 crore, and not 740 crores, as was made out to be. The MPs were unanimous in demanding that at a crucial juncture, when the Community need to catch up on educational and economic development, it needs a special component plan of nothing less than Rs. 25,000 crore annually.
Earlier making a power point presentation, MJ Khan, President, NEFM set the following agenda for discussions;
Agenda and background note
Round Table on Muslim Development Agenda
Due to the educational backwardness Muslims are not able to participate in the economic development. In jobs many times they face discrimination, which has led to their negligible presence in Government services, even at the lowest levels, where education does not matter. With this social handicap, they can look for any respectable level of participation only with effective instruments of support by the Government. Removal of religion based discriminatory Clause 3 under Artcle 341 of the Constituiton, creating a Separate Subgroup within the OBC reservation and launch of a Special Component Plan for Muslims of a reasonable size of Rs. 25,000 crores annually, seems logical and absolutely necessary steps.
In the changing dynamics of world order and the emergence of knowledge societies, where the emergence of private sector in playing an important role in education, jobs and new enterprises, the importance of quality education is further enhanced. Thus providing quality education to 50 million Muslims to bring them into national mainstream is a major challenge for the Government.
In view of the increasing marginalisation of Muslims in social and economic spheres over a period of time, the feeling is growing that Muslim youths may loose faith in the system and about their future. Thus, there is urgent need for attention by the Government, intellegentia and the political system to devise suitable measures to address their issues and grievances, and more importantly take effective steps to ensure their participation in the mainstream education and social and economic development.
The question of social opportunity and public policy needs to be answered keeping in view the poor economic development of the community. If fair representation in jobs, education and resources allocation is ensured, it will have strong cascading effects on the development of the community and in turn on the economy of the nation.
The issues concerning Muslims are many; from profiling, security, education, jobs, poverty reduction, and economic participation to social and political empowerment. There is however no agreement on the agenda and the course of action to be followed. This needs to be done, keeping in view the emerging socio-economic environment and the political reality of the day so that what is demanded is substantial enough to make impact, and not just statistics. And what is demanded should be possible to achieve.
We believe that Muslims need enabling environment for them to effectively participate in the mainstream activities and contribute to the social and economic advancement of the nation. Reservation may be important, but not the only way to go, esp. in the context of increasing role of private sector in jobs, education and economic affairs.
We need to work upon and come out with a clear Agenda, Road Map and Action Plan – what we should pursue with the Government and what we should do ourselves mobilizing the community resources. The issues and agenda may thus be divided between the Action by the Government and the Action by the Community. The same may again be of two types 1) Social and Political 2) Governance and Developmental
Agenda for the Government
Social and Political
1. Proportionate Political Representation to Minorities, as for Dalits in India and for Minorities in many other countries
2. Expanding overall OBC quota, including more muslim castes as in many States and trifurcation of OBC Reservation
3. Removal of Article 341 (3) the religion based discriminatory clause
4. Profiling of Muslims, code for investigating officials and media
5. Safety and Security – Control of riots, Accetance of Enquiry reports, accountability, detterant punishments and equal compensation
6. Annual report to be released by Home / Minority Affairs Minsitry on Minorities Level of Confidence in States, and ranking them on the same
Governance and Developmental
1. Equal Opportunities Commission
2. Waqf properties documentation, vacation, valuation and commercialization
3. Non target, non accountability, low transparency, and corruption loaded execution
4. Waqf properties documentation, vacation, valuation and commercialization
5. 85:15 ratio basis education scheme, ITI status to Madarsas, meeting criteria
6. Special Monitoring Officer for minority schemes in each Ministry / PMO or MMA
7. Special Component Plan for Minorities of Rs. 25,000 crore
Agenda for the Community
Social and Political
Setting up a Monitoring and Response Centre for research, response, coordination and delivery at the National and State levels
1. Image building exercise
2. Coordination on major political and social issues and meetings the Governemnt
Economic and Developmental
1. Operationalising an Economic Development Agency
2. Large Scale programs Mission Skills, monorities concession
3. Creating awareness and empowerment to access major Governmental schemes like SSA, RGURM, NREGA, NRHM, PMEGP, NHM etc.
Mr. Khan emphasised that we need to work out a clear Agenda, a clear Road Map and a clear Action Plan for the development of the community. Highlighting the need for a proactive appraoch and a forward looking agenda in the changing socio-economic environment, he said that the time has offered us a historic opportunity, where the Government is in know of the muslims problems and seems keen to deliver. It is stable and is in business like mode. We must seize the opportunity and for that we need to prepare very clear agenda for development, based on the above points.
Based on the deliberations of the Round Table Meet and wider consultaions with eminent community leaders, six point recommendations have been made, as under:
Keeping in view the above dynamics and based on the wide spread consultations among the community leaders; the following resolution was adopted:
1. No Reservation but Correction of the religion based discriminatory Clause (3) under Article 341 of the Constitution, which was imposed by a Presidential Order 1950. The existence of this Clause contradicts the secular character of our constitution, which is mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitutuion and guarnteed under Artcle 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution “that no discrimination will be made to its citizens based on gender, caste, religion etc.” And yet Muslims and Christens face religion based discrimination under this infamous Presidential Order 1950.
2. No Reservation but Fair Share under the OBC quota, wherein based on the Mandal Commmission recommendations, Muslims OBC castes constitute one third (8.4%) of the 27%. Muslims, like Hindus MBCs, have also not got their share in OBC reservation, as few powerful castes take away the chunk of the OBC quota, say Yadavs in Northern India. Therefore based on the South pattern of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and AP, Advanced OBCs, MBCs and Muslim OBCs may be given Quota within Quota, as per their share. This will be in total conformity with the spirit of reservation, where all get Justice, a Just and a Fair Share.
3. No Reservation but Affirmative Actions for their effective participation in the national mainstream by accessing education and economic opportunities through a set of Affirmative Actions. Through Special Component Plan of Rs. 25,000 crores, an annual budget of Rs. 15,000 crores may be created for Modernisation of the Madarsa Educational Network and for opening new educational institutions for Muslims under 85:15 ratio, wherein 85% grant is by GOI and 15% by the host. Another Budget of Rs. 10,000 crores to be created for their large scale skills development programs, creation of small enterprises and other economic opportunities.
4. No Reservation but Equitable Distribution under the spendings by all economic ministries of the Central Government. The apppoitnment of a Monitoring Officer in each ministry or mandating the Ministry of Minority Affairs to ask for status report on quarterly basis of the adherence to the 15% spendings for minorities (10% exclusively for Muslims) will serve the purpose.
5. Safety, Security and Sensitivity towards minorities. Suitable law may be passed by the Parliament for the protection of minorities by covering them under the Criminal Act, on par with the SC/ST Criminal Act. This will ensure that harassment and profiling of minorities is not done. And in cases of riots, blasts and terrorist activities, even before the preliminary investigations are done, some Muslim names are flashed in media, which not only affects the investigations, but create very negative perception about Muslims in the society. Similalry, in cases of riots, Strict Punishment to those responsible, Dettering Compensation to the victims, (Rs. 25 lacs and jobs to the dependents of the victims) and time bound enquiry and adoption of reports, will stop any riots in future.
6. Special Measures by the Community:
1. Setting up of Indian Minorities Economic Development Agency, coordinated by MJ Khan
2. Setting up of National Level Monitoring & Response Centre, coordinated by Mr. K. Ansari
3. Setting of a Political Affairs Committee, coordinated by Mr. Mohammad Adeeb, MP
4. Setting of a Committee on Education Affairs, coordinated by Dr. Huma Masood, UNESCO
In addition to this, a suggestion was made to the Minister by MJ Khan to form a 12 – 15 member advisory committee for the Ministry, which could meet once a month to discuss the issues concerning minorities, suggest for agenda and action and monitor various programs.
It was felt that if these measures are taken, then Muslims will be able to effectively participate in the national mainstream and contribute to the economic progress and double digit growth of the nation.
President – NEFM
New Delhi – 1
Minute to Minute Program
Round Table on Muslim Development Agenda
Program Duration 6.3 0 pm – 8.30 pm
6.30 pm – Floral welcome of the Chief Guests by MJ Khan and Mr. Mujtaba Farooq
6.40 pm – Agenda note and background by MJ Khan, President NEFM
7.50 pm – Sharing of thoughts by Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner
7.55 pm – Sharing of thoughts by Mr. Anis Ansari, ex. Addl. Chief Secy. UP
8.0 pm – Sharing of thoughts by Dr. AW Khan, UNESCO
8.05 pm – Sharing of thougths by Dr. Anwarul Hoda, ex. member – Plannning Commission
8.10 pm – Sharing of thougths by Hon’ble Members of Parliament 8.10 pm – 8.45 pm
1. Mr. Ali Anwar, MP
2. Mr. Mohammad Adeeb, MP
3. Mr. Abdul Rahman, MP
4. Mr. Jabir Hussain, MP
5 Mr. SD Sharique, MP
6. Mr. Saeed Malihabadi, MP
9. Mr. Azeez Pasha, MP
8.45 pm – House open for interventions by eminent persons 8.45 pm – 9.0 pm
1. Mr. Kamal Faruqui, Chairman, DMC
2. Mr. Siraj Chowdhary, CEO, Cargill India
3. Raja Mahmudabad, Mohammad Amir Khan
4. Dr. MM Ansari, Information Commissioner
5. Other dignitaries with the permission of the Chair
9.0 pm – Address by the Chief Guest, Mr. Salman Khursheed, Hon’ble Minister
09.15 pm Summing up of the deliberations by MJ Khan and inviting for dinner