The West Bengal government will introduce reservation for Muslims in higher education, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told a large audience gathered here on Friday on Red Road to offer prayers on Eid-ul-Fitr.

“We want your children to become doctors and engineers. We want Muslim children and youth to advance in studies. Reservation of seats in higher education will be introduced from 2014,” she said.

Referring to her government’s decision to include a majority of Muslims under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, she said more than 90 per cent Muslims were now eligible for reservation in government jobs.

The Assembly passed a legislation in July 2012, providing 17 per cent reservation to OBCs in government jobs. A majority of groups listed in the category in legislation are Muslims. There are reports that the State government is likely to introduce a similar legislation in the Assembly as the Constitution does not allow reservations on religious grounds.  

Emphasising that her government had implemented most of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, Ms. Banerjee referred to various schemes implemented by her government for the welfare of minorities, as examples.

“The State government is setting up a Minority Bhavan in each district,” she said adding that her government would extend help to Muslim youths to start small shops, business establishments and other small business in the city and districts. “We will set up marketing complexes and provide shops to Muslim youths,” she said.

 Muslims comprise about 30 per cent of the State’s population.

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