| Karat at a news conference in Delhi. (PTI)
New Delhi, March 5: The CPM politburo today unveiled a charter of recommendations for the advancement of Muslims. The proposals have come in the wake of the Sachar committee’s report on the low socio-economic and educational status of the community, which accounts for 13.4 per cent of the country’s population.
“These proposals are not merely propagandist but realistic. The recommendations are about what can be done by the Centre and the states,” general secretary Prakash Karat said while releasing the charter.
The prod to act fast is not just for the Congress-led Centre but also party-ruled Bengal, where the government’s record on Muslim welfare as revealed by the Sachar committee leaves much to be desired.
A look at what the CPM has demanded, what the situation is now and whether the proposals can be implemented:
Dalit Muslim quota
CPM demand: Adequate share for OBC Muslims from the general quota for other backward classes. States must list OBC Muslims and simplify access to OBC certificates.
At present: The Constitution does not allow reservation solely on religious ground. OBC Muslims at present are entitled to reservation but in many states they are not listed in the category.
Can it be done' A Dalit Muslim quota is possible if the UPA government and all political parties accept it. Parliament has to pass a law and it has to be sanctioned by the President.
CPM demand: Adequate representation in central security forces and as panel members on recruitment boards.
At present: The Sachar report reveals that Muslims constitute only 3 per cent of higher category employees in the railways compared with the 92.8 per cent Hindus.
In national security agencies, only 3.6 per cent of the higher positions are occupied by Muslims as against 87.5 per cent for Hindus. In Bengal, where Muslims account for 25.2 per cent of the population, their share in employment is 2.1 per cent.
Can it be done' Forms of affirmative action, including reservation for Dalit Muslims, can go a long way in increasing representation of Muslims in all branches of the government.
CPM demand: Schools imparting modern education in all districts and blocks with substantial Muslim presence. Hostels for Muslim girls. Substantial increase in stipends and scholarships. Scientific and job-oriented education in madarsas.
At present: The Sachar report puts the literacy level of Muslims at 59.1 per cent as against 65.1 per cent among Hindus.
Can it be done' A minority committee, headed by junior human resource minister M.A.A. Fatmi, has endorsed the CPM’s recommendations on education. A section of the panel has even suggested exclusive schools for Muslims in areas where they dominate.
CPM demand: A sub-plan like that for tribals. Specific budgetary allocation for schemes.
At present: According to the Sachar report, 33 per cent of Muslims in rural areas and 44 per cent in urban areas are poor compared with the 28 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, among Hindus. Under a special plan, states can make allocations proportionate to the percentage of Muslims.
Can it be done' The UPA government is considering a sub-plan.
Karat said his party will circulate the charter among individuals and organisations. The CPM will organise a convention in Delhi to give the document a final shape based on the feedback. “We want to mobilise public opinion through this,” Karat said.