Minority presence in paramilitary forces rises
23 Jan 2008
NEW DELHI: Central paramilitary forces top the UPA regime’s efforts to increase minority presence in government jobs, with 10% of recruitments made since April 2007 belonging to Muslim and other communities. The growing figures are seen as the result of the aggressive campaign launched by UPA to push the representation of minorities in PSUs and paramilitary forces, the biggest public employers, following Manmohan Singh regime’s launch of the 15-point programme. While the change was first noticed in Border Security Force and Assam Rifles, sources said home ministry statistics show that the rise in minority numbers is a feature across paramilitary forces.
The paramilitary intake stands out among UPA’s minority welfare measures, in the backdrop of PM’s review last week which revealed that ambitious financial and educational projects for minorities are still to take off.
HRD ministry’s schemes for education are awaiting the nod from the Planning Commission and finance ministry, and the PM is learnt to have asked them to expedite clearances.
The government has set a target of 15% by 2010 for ‘priority sector lending’ – loans to be given to minorities. While it is still not rolling at full speed, sources said that it is estimated to be around 11% by March 2008. It stands at around 9% at present. A senior official said, “It is not bad.”
Sources said 26 out of the 28 public sector banks have sent their roadmaps on how they planned to achieve the target. Vijaya Bank is said to be already doing 15% because of its roots in South India, which has a good minority concentration with an advanced social status.
The move to open bank branches in ‘minority concentration districts’ is still to start. But 20 banks have sent proposals to RBI for approval and officials said it should pick up in future.
The 15-point plan, along with the Sachar panel report on Muslim backwardness, has a strong political capital riding on it in view of Congress eagerness to woo the minority bloc with a strong pitch on community welfare.
As the slowness in the welfare bouquet’s take-off threatens to rob Congress of much hoped-for campaign points, officials said the PM’s review is set to give it a sense of urgency.