Convincing Apex Court What India Wants - OBC Quota

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New Delhi, Oct 26 (UNI) Asserting the desirability of reserving higher education seats for Other Backward Classes, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today spoke of convincing the Supreme Court ''what India wants.'' ''Reservation of... OBCs in Higher Education is very desirable,'' Singh told Indian, American and Irish experts discussing social exclusion suffered by India's ''marginalised sections.'' ''We should be able to convince the Supreme Court what India wants and the efforts in this regard have to be pursued with dedication,'' Singh said, inaugurating a 'National Conference on Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies.' The 2-day Conference organised by the New Delhi-based Indian Institute of Dalit Studies is co-sponsored by US-based Princeton University.

Participants included University Grants Commission chairman Sukhadeo Thorat, Planning Commission member Balachandra Mungekar and Prof Katherine Newmen from Princeton University.

The event is to focus on social exclusion and discrimination suffered by marginalised Indians, specifically the scheduled castes and tribes, other backward classes, religious minorities such as Muslims and similar groups.

Singh said the conference was being held at an opportune time and its deliberations could help make policies inclusive.

He stressed a road map to further the commitment to removing discrimination in every sphere of life-- social, cultural, economic and political as well as extreme case of violence.

He spoke of policies formulated by the founding fathers of India's Constitution to do away with discrimination faced by marginalised sections of the population, such as the SCs, STs , OBCs, women and Muslims and other religious minorities.

Those policies have yielded good results in social and educational development but the advancement was still short of the expectations of that section of the society, Singh said.

He said a lot is needed to be done and this is the time India can or should stand up and face the nation's ''real issues.'' Just back from a conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in France, Singh suggested the UNESCO face the reality around the globe without any discrimination and offer practical solutions.

The meet is a followup of joint studies undertaken by the event co-sponsors-- Dalit Institute and the Ivy campus-- on discrimination in employment opportunities for new graduates in private sector, hiring practices and attitudes.

The studies depicting discrimination in market and non-market transactions have been published by the Economic and Political Weekly in its October 13, 2007 issue Singh released.

A recent move by the HRD Minister sparked protests by students inducing experts to suggest increasing college seats by the number reserved. The matter is before the apex court.

The exercise, on hold while the Court adjudicates, has been dubbed by some e-critics ''another classical example of vote bank politics.'' UNI

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