New Delhi, March 16: Based on the Expert Group Report and examination, the central government on Thursday re-circulated the draft Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) Bill for inter-ministerial consultations. In pursuance of one of the recommendations made by Sachar Committee, the Government had set up an Expert Group to examine and determine, inter alia, the structure and functions of an EOC to address the grievances of deprived groups.

To enable the minorities to avail opportunities in the development process of the country, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is already implementing various welfare and development schemes/programmes. It has taken initiatives for educational empowerment, infrastructure development, skill development, economic empowerment, women empowerment and also to meet the special needs of the Minorities.

Moreover, under Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities (PM’s New 15-PP), 24 schemes/programmes of 11 Ministries/Departments including 7 exclusive schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs are covered. Details of the schemes / programmes / initiatives taken up by the Ministry of Minority Affairs exclusively for minorities, and various schemes of other Central Ministries / Departments under PM’s New 15-PP.

Sachar Committee was formed during the first United Progressive Alliance government in 2006 to recommend policy measures for the upliftment of linguistic and religious minorities. Sachar Committee stormed the country when it stated that the condition of Muslims in some states are worse than Dalits. Among several recommendations, the committee opined for an Equal Opportunity Commission to ensure the upliftment of deprived Muslims in the country.

Justice Rajender Sachchar in his report recommended, “It is imperative to increase the employment share of Muslims particularly in contexts where there is a great deal of public dealing. Their public visibility will endow the larger Muslim community with a sense of confidence and involvement and help them in accessing these facilities in larger numbers and greater proportion. To achieve this, efforts should be made to increase the employment share of Muslims amongst the teaching community, health workers, police personnel, bank employees and so on. Employers should be encouraged to endorse their organisations as ‘Equal Opportunity Institutions’ so that applicants from all SRCs may apply. A time-bound effort in this direction is desirable.”