Include all Muslims in BPL, then exclude the well-off!

By Sanchit on Sunday, January 31, 2010

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C.P. Joshi
Joshi’s proposal goes beyond what the Saxena committee report — it was appointed by the Rural Development Ministry — recommended. While it said that weightage should be given to certain social groups, including Muslims, it did not favour automatic inclusion.

According to the Saxena report, SCs/STs would get three points and Most Backward Castes (MBC) two points. The Saxena report said that Muslims and OBCs be given one point each.

Automatic inclusion of Muslims in the BPL list could be the first major attempt by the Congress-led UPA government to woo the vote bank that roughly constitutes 18% of the country’s population.

The decision could be significant given that Uttar Pradesh and Bihar go to state polls in 2012 and 2010 respectively, states where the Congress is desperately trying to get a foothold.

Inclusion and exclusion from the BPL list is a big issue in villages, particularly in the Hindi heartland, since benefits of most Central and state-sponsored welfare schemes like Indira Awas Yojna, old age pension are decided on the basis of the list.