Commission will have the powers to look into issues of discrimination

K. Rahman Khan, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, said on Saturday that the Union Government is planning to introduce an Equal Opportunities Commission Bill in Parliament.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the Muslim Convention for “Towards better future” organised by the Udupi Zilla Muslim Okkoota here.

Mr. Khan said the Rajinder Sachar Committee, which studied the social, economic and educational status of Muslims, had in its report, submitted in November, 2006, recommended an Equal Opportunities Commission. The commission would have powers to look into any issues of discrimination.

The Union government would set up a Wakf Development Corporation to develop wakf properties in the country. There was a lot of encroachment and misuse of wakf properties, which needed to be checked. Of the 86 recommendations made by the Sachar Committee, the Union government had agreed to 82 recommendations and had even implemented 70 recommendations. But it was possible that the benefits of the implemented recommendations had not reached the people. The weak monitoring system and corruption kept many benefits away from reaching the beneficiaries.

But the voluntary organisations too had the responsibility of keeping an eye on the implementation of various welfare schemes in the districts. They should have complete knowledge of welfare schemes and take advantage of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to keep a track of them.

There was a fall in the standards of politicians and political parties.

While everybody was ready to blame the system, nobody wanted to take responsibility.

“We should stay within the political system and bring about changes in it for the better. It is unfortunate that we always see the government as a provider. Instead we should see the government as a facilitator. There are loopholes in the system, we should find ways to plug them,” he said.

Muslims should follow the words of the freedom fighter and the first Union Education Minister of Independent India Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who had said that the Muslims should not feel that they were minorities and instead they were the second religious majority in the country, Mr. Khan said.

Abdussalam Puttige, Editor-in-Chief of the Kannada daily Vartha Bharathi, said that the secular parties were only paying lip sympathy to secularism.

They were not dealing with the fundamentalist forces. Rather than depending on political parties, people should themselves work for the development of society, he said.

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