Beyond the Lokpal
Reacting to the Lokpal bill debacle in the Rajya Sabha,Rashtriya Sahara writes in a December 31 editorial: The opposition parties that created hurdles for the bill are trying to present the government as entirely responsible for not getting the bill passed. Despite the clash in the House,the attitude of both the government and the opposition parties seems to have been identical.. (they all) kept away from a strong Lokpal bill.
The problem,according to the paper,was that the government,facing threats and pressure from Team Anna,did not make a serious effort to create consensus on its draft. Nor did it take its allies into confidence. This is why the government had to avoid a vote on the bill,which caused it embarrassment within the House and outside.
Reflecting on Anna Hazares campaign,the daily Inquilab,published from Mumbai,Delhi,Lucknow,Kanpur and Bareilly,writes in its editorial on January 2: They erred in limiting the campaign to the Lokpal issue. If they had kept the focus on corruption,and tried to create a consciousness among the people,the situation would have started changing slowly. This nations history shows that the great social reformers never tried to impose change rather,they made people conscious of the need for change.
In a Rashtriya Sahara opinion piece on December 30,about the 4.5 per cent reservation granted by the Central government to minorities,former MP Syed Shahabuddin writes: The 4.5 per cent quota for minorites,out of the 27 per cent quota of OBCs,in government jobs and Central educational institutions should be welcomed. But this quota is considered inadequate by Muslims. The Sachar committee report had found that Muslims are almost as backward as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes,and the level of their backwardness is higher than that of non-Muslim OBCs. The Muslim population of the coutnry is about 15 per cent. If we assume that the extent of their backwardness is 90 per cent of those of SCs and STs,they should have been given a reservation quota of at least 12 per cent.
A front-page commentary in Daawat (December 28) argues: It should be clear that the Ranganath Mishra Commission had suggested two alternatives. First,that minorities should be declared backward and given 15 per cent reservation,out of which 10 per cent should be for Muslims. Alternatively,8.4 per cent of the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs should be given to minorities,out of which 6 per cent should be kept for Muslims. But the government did not do so. Now,the question is,what will the Muslim share be,in the 4.5 per cent quota?
Countering the argument that reservation cannot be given on the basis of religion,the paper says: The scheduled castes have been given reservation in the Constitution only on the basis of religion. That is why if a person belonging to a scheduled caste changes his religion,he is denied reservation. If the criterion was economic,he would have continued to be entitled to reservation.
Arguing that this decision has been taken under political considerations on the eve of elections to five state assemblies,Inquilab writes in its December 24 editorial: If this decision had been taken when the Sachar committee report was tabled in the Parliament and the Ranganath Mishra Commission report was discussed,the communalists would not have got a chance (to protest),because this decision would have been considered transparent.
The march of Urdu
According to a report in the daily Inquilab (December 30),Urdu ranks third in the publication of newspapers in India. Hindi tops the list of number of newspapers (1790),followed by English (1406) and Urdu (938). These figures are available in the 55th annual report on the state of the Indian press,published by the Registrar of Newspapers for India. Hindi also tops the list of total number of newspaper copies published with 15,54,94,777 copies,followed by English (5,53,70,184 copies) and Urdu (2,16,49,230 copies),according to the report.