Today's Paper

Minister allays fears over misuse of concessions

Minorities protected under Art. 30 of the Constitution and so far there had been no adverse observation

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, who moved the Constitution (104th) Amendment Bill providing reservation for the socially and educationally backward classes, besides the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, in private unaided educational institutions, allayed fears that the institutions could misuse the concessions given to them by the Government. The Minister said that it had already moved amendments to the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions to empower it to review the functioning of such institutions and make sure that the privileges granted to them were not misused. He said minorities were protected under Article 30 of the Constitution and so far there had been no adverse observation either by the Government or the judiciary against this provision that necessitated changes in it.

"BJP not against Bill"

Moving the amendment to drop the provision of excluding the minority institutions from the purview of the Bill, Ms. Swaraj said this would defeat the purpose of the legislation. She said the BJP was not opposing the Bill because it was against the minorities but because it wanted to "expose" the "anti-Dalit" and "anti-OBC" face of the Government. We want reservation without exception, she added. The former Human Resource Development Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, supported Ms. Swaraj's amendment.

Speaking on the issue, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) suggested all educational institutions should be brought under social control and legislation should be enacted to this effect before the next academic session.

Robert Kharsiing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that while he supported the Bill, exclusion of minority institutions would adversely affect tribal students from the North-East since most of the educational institutions in the region were run by the minority groups.

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