February 13, 2010

West Bengal announces reservation for Muslims in govt jobs


KOLKATA(INN): 8th February 2010-The Bengal Left Front government has decided that there should be as per the principal recommendations of the Mishra Commission, a 10% reservation of the economically handicapped sections of the Muslims. The reservation excludes the ‘creamy layer.’

The main aspects of the recommendations being initiated are:

· For eligibility, monthly income of the concerned person must be below Rs four lakh 50 thousand
· This is the first instance of reservation for Muslims in the country
· A decision has been kept in consideration for similar reservation for Sikhs and Christians
· Of the 66 communities marked up as OBC’s, 12 are Muslims.
· The OBC Muslims comprise 16 lakh 38 thousand or 8.3% of the total OBC population pool of Bengal.

The ore populous of the Muslim OBC’s include Jola, Fakir/Sain, Hawari, Dhunia, Kasai, Nashya sheikh, Pahadia Muslim, Shershabadia, Rayeen/Kunjra, Hajjam, Chaudhooli, and Patidar. Over and above this list, further, newer applicants are the Khotta Muslims, Sardars, and Beldars.

The cases of four other backward Muslim communities, i.e., Mahaldar, Abdaal, Baasni, and Kaankhalifa are under active consideration, the chief minister said at the Writers’’ Buildings whilst announcing the new category of reservation.
KOLKATA: PTI, 8 February 2010, 03:37pm IST -On a day when the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down job reservation for Muslims, the West Bengal government on Monday announced 10 per cent quota in employment for the community under the OBC category. The state government declared the quota for the Muslims who were educationally, socially and economically backward in the state. "We have decided to accept the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission and will take steps to implement it," chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told newsmen at the state secretariat without waiting for the Centre's decision on the report. He said like other states there was reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in the state. The government, he said, had begun the process of identifying Muslims who were educationally, socially and economically backward. There was 7 per cent reservation for OBCs in the state. "After identification, we will provide reservation to them under the OBC category," the chief minister said. Earlier in the day, a Constitution bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down a state law providing 4 per cent reservation in educational institutions and jobs to 15 groups belonging to the Muslim community. Soon after the court's order, Andhra chief minister K Rosaiah directed the state advocate general D S R Murthy to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the verdict.

Panel to fast-track Muslim job quota
Swati Sengupta, TNN, 12 February 2010, 05:54am IST
The Left Front government is pulling out all the stops to woo the Muslims. With just around a year left for the 2011 assembly elections, the government on Thursday decided to appoint a panel to grant OBC status to different backward groups in the state. This was done to put its proposal for 10% job reservation for Muslim OBCs on the fast track. Interestingly, the new committee — to be headed by chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti — will be vested with powers to supersede the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes that was appointed 17 years ago for the same purpose. "The new committee will revise the existing OBC list. This involves including new groups and excluding existing ones, though the immediate purpose is clearly to include more Muslim groups in the OBC category so that they can benefit from the government’s recent decision," a bureaucrat said. The formation of the panel is significant as it will now be executing the order as per the Left Front government’s stand. The commission, on the other hand, is an independent body comprising experts and may not necessarily tow the government’s view on who deserves the OBC status. Officials said the state government is well within its right to form the panel and has legal sanction. Under the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, the state may "undertake a revision of the lists with a view to excluding from such lists those classes who have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes". While the Act mentions the commission has to be consulted, officials indicated the new panel would have the final say. The committee’s decisions would also be cleared by the state cabinet. According to rule, the revision can be done only 10 years after the formation of the commission. So the state had the power to revise the list since 2003, but chose to do it now, evidently to woo the Muslim voters. In last year’s Lok Sabha polls, the CPM lost a major chunk of the Muslim votebank. After the polls, the party had identified the loss of Muslim votes as a key reason for the debacle. For the past six months, the Commission has been examining the cases of several applications from different groups of Muslims as well as Hindus on OBC status. Recently, the commission granted OBC status to four Muslim groups and more are expected to get the nod. But the government isn’t taking any chances. It wants to act at the earliest so that the benefit of 10% job quota may reach the grassroots before the elections. The largesse for backward Muslims is aimed essentially at the voters in minority-dominated areas of Malda, Murshidabad, and South 24-Parganas. The state’s decision follows the Ranganath Mishra Commission report that recommended 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities on the basis of the Sachar Committee report.

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