| New Delhi |
November 23, 2020 2:11:45 am
THE SEVEN-MEMBER Nationwide Fee for Minorities (NCM) is all the way down to only one member. Whereas 5 posts have been mendacity vacant since Could, the vice-chairperson, Manjit Singh Rai, retired on October 25.
The NCM is remitted to have seven members, together with a chairperson and vice-chairperson, with a member every from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jain communities.
“There was some delay in filling the vacancies due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however the course of is underway,’’ mentioned Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. The ministry recommends the names to the Prime Minister’s Workplace.
This isn’t the primary time that vacancies haven’t been stuffed within the NCM — in 2017, all seven posts remained empty for over two months.
The NDA authorities confronted criticism for not filling vacancies within the commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward courses and minorities. The identical yr, the Delhi Excessive Courtroom sought the Centre’s response on a plea towards the federal government’s “inaction” in clearing appointments to the NCM.
“It’s true that the Fee, even with all its members, shouldn’t be at all times efficient. However it’s nonetheless a illustration for minorities and an necessary instrumentality of the federal government in a democracy that offers them company, and when the NCM lies vacant, they really feel excluded. The NCM is in control of guaranteeing that the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme is applied and the programmes for minority communities are literally functioning,’’ mentioned Wajahat Habibullah, who was the NCM chairperson in 2011-2014.
“Previously, the Fee has investigated issues of communal battle and riots. I’ve visited websites of such battle to research. The 2011 Bharatpur communal riots have been investigated by the Fee. In 2012, a workforce was despatched to Assam to research the Bodo-Muslim clashes, and their findings have been submitted to the federal government. But now, there’s clear focusing on of a specific minority in Uttar Pradesh for example, however the Fee hasn’t mentioned a phrase about it to date, which is surprising,’’ mentioned Habibullah.
“In 2004, the standing committee on social justice and empowerment, headed by Sumitra Mahajan, had made particular suggestions to strengthen the NCM. One of many points was the inadequate investigative powers that the NCM has… However these suggestions have been by no means applied by the then UPA authorities. Whichever authorities is in energy, the stories tabled by the minority fee in Parliament are by no means actually taken up or debated,’’ mentioned former Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was additionally NCM chairperson.
Part 13 of the NCM Act mandates that the annual report, “along with the memorandum of motion taken on the suggestions contained therein’’, in addition to the explanations for non-acceptance of the suggestions, if any, be tabled earlier than Parliament yearly. Sources mentioned these stories haven’t been tabled in Parliament since 2010.
“Even after I took over in 2006, these stories have been not being tabled. And I needed to take up the matter with the minorities minister and revive the apply. It’s not unintended that the federal government is reluctant to scrutinise,’’ mentioned Ansari, who investigated the Nandigram incident in West Bengal throughout his tenure.
“The Fee is supposed to behave on complaints that it receives. A lot of the complaints that we obtain are relating to service issues, the place a person might really feel that he has been terminated or handed over for promotion due to his faith. We additionally get complaints of property disputes,’’ mentioned B Anand, NCM Secretary.
Former NCM members mentioned there was a shift within the form of members appointed to the physique. Whereas previous appointments included former chief justices, civil servants, academicians and so on, the current appointees have been largely “social activists” with hyperlinks to the BJP, they mentioned.
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