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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 17, 2007
Government committed to empowerment of minorities, says Manmohan Singh
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Government committed to empowerment of minorities, says Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that the Centre is committed to implementing policies for the empowerment of minorities.

New Delhi, May 17 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that the Centre is committed to implementing policies for the empowerment of minorities.

Addressing a Conference on "Empowerment of Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Minorities through Elementary Education" here, Singh said:

"I assure you of our firm commitment to implementing the most effective policies for the empowerment of Dalits, Tribals, Minorities, Other Backward Classes and women and if there are ideas about the problems faced by poor children from other sections of the community, they should also be taken on board".

"I sincerely believe that the route to the social and economic empowerment of all disadvantaged groups - be they Dalits or tribals, be they women or minorities - is through education," he said.

Singh said lack of access to quality education is hindering the progress of disadvantaged groups.

While the Scheduled Castes suffer from many handicaps, the lack of access to education has been one of the foremost barriers to their progress, he said.

"SC and ST girls have lagged behind boys and we need therefore a much more sharply focused strategy for the education of Dalit and Scheduled Tribe and minority girl children," he added.

Singh observed that the Sachar Committee report has shown that the Muslim community has lagged behind in the field of education.

The report shows inequity in access to education at all levels, particularly in higher education, he said

"There are sharp and important regional differences. States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have a much better track record in empowering through education. Educational deprivation among Minorities differs from State to State. Hence we need State-specific strategies and interventions," Singh said.

Singh said a high quality public schooling system is the only guarantor of equality of opportunity to all groups, irrespective of their social or economic conditions.

Expressing concern over the quality gap between public schools and private schools, Singh emphasised on the need to bridge it if good education is not to become a preserve of the privileged classes only.

Former Prime Minister I K Gujral, Leader of the Opposition L K Advani, Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal were present at the conference organised by the All India Forum of Legislators (SCs and STs) in association with the Human Resource Development Ministry.

ANI

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