A committee appointed by the central government to review the implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar panel has suggested that a law on the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act be enacted to safeguard the Muslim community.
The committee headed by Amitabh Kundu, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, submitted its report to the Ministry of Minority Affairs on March 14.
“The committee has recommended the need for the creation of a special Act on the lines of the SC/ST Act for Muslims in the country. It has been seen that the members of the Muslim community face similar challenges to that of the SC community, and in certain cases, they are more violent challenges,” sources who played a role in the drafting of the report said.
The committee has suggested that the new law could supplement the communal violence Bill, which is facing political opposition.
The panel has also recommended that a special sub-quota for Muslims be created within the OBC category, and has stressed the need to include Muslims in the Scheduled Castes category.
The interim report identifies Muslim OBCs as one of the most deprived sections, and says many Muslim OBCs actually belong to the SC category. Dalit Muslims are currently not included in the SC category, and are notified as OBCs.
In its evaluation of the implementation of the Sachar recommendations, the committee has said that while the central government has created institutions like the Minority Affairs Department to address the problems of the minority community, there is a lack of convergence and coordination in these institutions.
“The institution building process to address the concerns of the minorities has been successful at central level, for which we laud the government. However it has not succeeded in creating the convergence of these institutions. There has been no coordination established between various bodies at the state and central level which is a matter of concern. There is also no punishment over the failure to implement schemes and this has led to the unsuccessful implementation of the Sachar recommendations,” the sources said.
Almost seven years after the submission of the Sachar report, the Centre decided to set up a committee to review the implementation of the recommendations. The primary task of the Kundu panel, which was set up on August 5 last year, was to evaluate the process of the implementation of the decisions taken on the recommendations of the Sachar committee, and to assess the important programmes initiated by the ministry and the schemes covered by the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme. The committee had been asked to submit a report in six months.
‘FOCUS NOT ON MUSLIMS’
What the committee has found
- Due to political compulsions, focus of development not on Muslims, but on other minorities.
- Institution-building process successful, but no coordination at central and state levels for effective implementation of recommendations.
- Need to create special sub-quota within OBC for OBC Muslims; open SC category for SC Muslims who have been given OBC status.