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Bengal State Government offers 10% Quota in Jobs for Muslims, Latest Kolkata Election News update 2010


10% Reservation in Jobs for Muslims in Kolkata - Politics as Bengal state elections arrive which are scheduled in early 2011.


KOLKATA: Aiming to garnering Muslim votes in next year’s state elections, Bengal’s Marxist government on Monday announced a 10% job quota for Muslim backwards. The move came on a day Andhra Pradesh high court struck down a state law providing job reservation for backward Muslims.

The CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s largesse for backward Muslims is aimed essentially at cementing CPM’s hold on minority votes in Malda, Murshidabad, and South 24-Parganas districts. Other minority backward communities — namely Buddhists and Christians — get no relief.

Aware of the constitutional bars against religion-based reservation, Bhattacharjee was careful to slot this quota for certain sections of Muslims under the socially and educationally backward community, as enshrined in Article 16(4) of the Constitution. "The reservation is not on the basis of religion," Bhattacharjee clarified, possibly worried that the AP court order may threaten his decision.

The CM’s decision follows the Ranganath Mishra Commission report that recommends 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities on the basis of the Sachar Committee report.

"The state has 7% reservation of seats for OBCs. This category will be extended and there will be 17% reservation for backward Muslims," Bhattacharjee said, adding that they would begin with job reservations and move on to educational institutions.

The CM explained backward Muslims were the first to be chosen because they comprise 25% of Bengal’s population. In order to keep the "creamy layer" out of this provision — a long-standing demand of Left parties — Bhattacharjee said it won’t apply to families with an annual family income of Rs 4.5 lakh and more. Muslim youths under the OBC category can apply for this provision only if their parents’ income is below Rs 37,500 a month.

At present, Bengal has 12 Muslim sub-groups in the state’s OBC list, representing 16.83 lakh people. TOI had earlier reported that the state government has already identified another 37 Muslim sub-groups and decided to include four of them under the OBC category. It is considering inclusion of another three sub-groups - Khottas, Sardars and Beldars — that comprise 27.2 lakh population among Muslims.

All these categories come under the Ajlaf and Arzal category of backward Muslims as pointed out in the Sachar Committee Report on the status of Muslims. The relatively advanced Ashrafs have been left out of the OBC list and hence out of reservation, a state official said.

However, the process is not complete as yet. "We are going to set up a committee with officials from the minority affairs and backward classes welfare departments, along with representatives from the commissions of backward classes and minorities before firming up the inclusion of sub-groups under the OBC category. This is a tough job. We need to conduct a survey to identify the beneficiaries," the CM said.

With a dwindling Muslim support base that led to serious reverses for the Left in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the chief minister and the ruling Left Front could not afford to wait for the survey to be completed.


source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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