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Want to eradicate poverty among Muslims, says Owaisi

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Hyderabad: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday said he doesn’t want to break the country but wants to strengthen it, while fighting rights and development of his community.

“I don’t want to break the country, I want to strengthen it. I want to show Muslims are respected and first class citizens of the country,” said Owaisi while reacting to union minister Najma Heptulla’s allegation made during her visit to the Moulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) here on Sunday.

The Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad said the MANUU has become a propaganda centre for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Minority Affairs Minister Heptula was at the central university to address a conference on education organised by Chancellor Zafar Sareshwala, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Owaisi’s remark also came in the wake of reports that union Human Resource Development ministry ignored Azim Premji, Gulzar, Amitabh Bachchan and other prominent names to choose Sareshwala for the chancellor’s post.

Speaking after giving away educational kits to students of government-run Urdu medium schools at the party headquarters Darusalam, Owaisi said he was fighting for rights and justice.

“I want to eradicate poverty among Muslims and for this I want to see the girls and boys are educated,” he said.

Owaisi said since the dropout rate was high among Muslims due to poverty, the government should not put a cap on number of scholarships.

He said Kundu Committee in its report identified poverty as the main reason for Muslim students discontinuing their education.

The MIM leader said the prime minister talks about “Sab ka saath sab ka vikas” but the report of Kundu committee submitted last year had been put in cold storage.

“When we talk of education, they become silent. When we talk of reservation, RSS opposes it. When it comes to food, they impose ban on meat and beef. When we talk about Quran, they say it is not the soul of this country.”

Owaisi hit back at those criticizing him for his party’s decision to contest Bihar assembly elections in Seemanchal. Quoting figures from a baseline survey conducted by the minority affairs ministry in the four districts of the backward region, he said the literacy rate among Muslims and Dalits is lowest while the dropout rate is highest.

Alleging that the region was always neglected by successive governments in sanctioning schools and releasing funds for scholarships, the MIM chief asked his critics to clarify as to who is responsible for the region’s backwardness.

(IANS)

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Government Introduces Quota Bill For Upper Castes in Lok Sabha

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another "election gimmick" to garner votes

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The government on Tuesday introduced a Constitution amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to provide 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections in the general category in government jobs and higher educational institutions.

The introduction of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot was a smooth affair in the House with no member raising any objection.

The Bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday with an eye on the upper castes vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, seeks to amend Articles 15 and 16 under whose present provisions the benefits of the existing reservations are generally not available for the economically weaker sections of the forward castes.

The statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill said that the economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from attending the higher educational institutions and public employment on account of their financial incapacity to compete with those persons who are economically more privileged.

The benefits of existing reservations under clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 and clause (4) of Article 16 are generally unavailable to them unless they meet the specific criteria of social and educational backwardness, it said.

The directive principles of State policy contained in Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Quota Bill for upper castes introduced in Lok Sabha.

Under the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005, clause (5) was inserted in Article 15 of the Constitution which enables the State to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, in relation to their admission in higher educational institutions.

Similarly, clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution enables the State to make special provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

However, the statement of the objects and reasons said the economically weaker sections of citizens were not eligible for the benefit of reservation.

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“With a view to fulfil the mandate of Article 46, and to ensure that economically weaker sections of citizens to get a fair chance of receiving higher education and participation in employment in the services of the State, it has been decided to amend the Constitution of India,” it said.

Accordingly, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private institutions aided or unaided by the State other than the minority educational institutions referred to in article 30 of the constitution and also provides for reservation for them in posts in initial appointment in services under the State, the government said in a statement.

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another “election gimmick” to garner votes. (IANS)