Emphasising that reservation alone cannot be the solution for the empowerment of the minorities in the country, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Friday that creation of equal opportunities for both the majority and the minorities was the key to resolve the issue.
Addressing a seminar organised by the West Bengal Minorities’ Commission to celebrate the Minorities’ Rights Day, Mr. Bhattacharjee said: “Reservation cannot be a fundamental solution. It has been in place since 1947 but a select layer of handful people, a large mass of the minorities’ population have remained left out…creation of equal opportunities in every sector for both the majority and minority is therefore the only solution.”
He said the initiative must be taken in “fundamental fields like education and training.”
Referring to the large amount of scholarships given to minority students by the State government every year, Mr. Bhattacharjee said the State government had always been a step ahead in ensuring better educational opportunities for the minorities’ population.
“In the year 2008-09, we had given out Rs. 31 crore in scholarship which has increased to Rs. 75 crore in 2009-10. We have also established the Aliah University to impart technical education to minority students apart from the general stream studies,” he said.
Calling sections of the of the Sachar Commission Report on the condition of Muslims in West Bengal ‘unjust,’ Mr. Bhattacherjee pointed out that the report was prepared on the basis of the percentage of Muslims employed in the State government offices.
“The report, however, has not taken into account the large number of Muslim landless labourers who were given land pattas by the State government and also the number of Muslims employed in the police department, in hospitals, in the madrassa education system and the panchayat sytem,” he said.