By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Since the Union Cabinet approved a sub-quota within the 27% OBC quota on 22nd December, a confusion (genuine or deliberate) has prevailed, with a section of media and Muslim leaders calling it a Muslim quota while others taking it as a sub-quota for all defined religious minorities enlisted under the OBC category.
However, a notification from Department of Personnel & Training (Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances & Pensions, Govt. of India) that was issued on 23rd Dec., removes the confusion.
Sub-quota for minorities, not only Muslims
The notification has this title: Reservation for Other Backward Classes in Civil Posts and Services under the Govt. of India — Sub-quota for Minority Communities. Even as the title itself makes it clear that the sub-quota is not for only Muslims but minority communities, the body of the notification makes the things clearer.
“The Government have carefully considered the above recommendation (of Ranganath Mishra Commission) and it has been decided to carve out a sub-quota of 4.5% for minorities, as defined under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, from within the 27% reservation for OBCs as notified by the aforesaid O.M. The castes / communities of the said minorities which are included in the Central list of OBCs, notified state-wise from time to time by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, shall be covered by the said sub-quota,” says the ministry notification signed by Sharad Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary to the Government of India.
The Government of India had set up the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (Ranganath Mishra Commission) to suggest criteria for the identification of the socially and economically backward sections amongst Religious and Linguistic Minorities and to recommend measures for their welfare, including reservation in Government employment. The Commission submitted its report to the Government on l0th May, 2007, wherein it had, inter-alia, recommended creation of a sub-quota for minorities from within the reservation of 27% available to OBCs, in Government employment, the ministry says.
Who are minorities?
Vide a Gazette notification issued on 23rd October 1993 by Ministry of Welfare, Government of India, five religious communities viz; the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities. As per the 2001 Census, these five religious minority communities constitute 18.42% of the country’s population.
Confusion created by media and Muslim leaders
The front-page news on the sub-quota published in Times of India (Patna Edition) on 23rd Dec. starts with this lead paragraph: “Two Muslim quotas in half a day on Thursday set the tone for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. The Centre in the afternoon cleared a minority (read Muslim) quota in the Lokpal and only hours later, the Cabinet approved 4.5% job quota for minorities within the 27% OBC bracket.”
When TCN asked Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari if the sub-quota is for only Muslims or all minorities, he had said this: “It is a sub-quota for Muslims who are in the OBC category. I have talked to Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and he said this 4.5% is for Muslims.”
The government has announced to implement the minority sub-quota of 4.5% from 1st January 2012.
Below is the 23rd Dec. notification from Department of Personnel & Training (Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances & Pensions, Govt. of India)