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PM for steps to uplift minorities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
Following up on the commitment made in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced that the UPA government will establish a National Commission to promote the welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities through reservations in education and jobs.

Distressed at the low representation of Muslims and other minorities both in private and public sectors, Dr Singh reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the systematic removal of barriers hampering their empowerment.

Addressing a conference on “Minority Welfare and Education”, Dr Singh also announced the establishment of another Commission to provide direct affiliation to minority professional institutions with the Central universities. He also promised to promote modern and technical education among all minority communities.

Referring to the emphasis on education in the CMP, the Prime Minister said it was important to understand that investment in education was not merely a welfare measure. “It is also a means of empowerment,” he said, adding that the minorities should be made to feel that they are equal partners in the progress of the country.

The Prime Minister’s presence at the conference on minorities education today was yet another political statement about the UPA government’s priorities. It was meant to reaffirm the new regime’s secular credentials and signal its commitment to ending what it describes as communalisation of the education sector.

It is pertinent to note that the first meeting which Dr. Singh addressed was the Chief Ministers’ conference on rural poverty. He followed this up with a visit to Andhra Pradesh to acquaint himself with the plight of farmers who are being driven to suicide. Dr Singh’s initial public appearances are meant to drive home the point regarding the new government’s commitment to the farm sector and the empowerment of minorities and scheduled castes and tribes.

Today’s one-day conference, called by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, was attended by several Union Ministers, minority leaders, scholars, educationists and opinion makers.
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