Telangana will soon bring in a legislation to provide 12% reservations to Muslims and bring pressure on the Union Government to include the law in Constitution's 9th schedule as was done in case of Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Wednesday.
Reiterating his commitment to provide quota to Muslims in proportion to their population, he said that if the central government refuses, the state would fight a legal battle.
He told the state assembly that Telangana will follow Tamil Nadu model to provide 12% quota to Muslims. He clarified that the quota will not be on the basis on religion but will be based only on socio-economic backwardness.
Rao said reservations to Muslims in proportion to their population in the state will take the total quota in the state to over 50%, the upper limit prescribed by the Supreme Court, thus requiring a constitutional amendment.
He said a bill will be passed in the budget session of the assembly and the legislation will be sent to the Centre with a request to include it in the 9th Schedule, which has laws that cannot be challenged in a court of law.
Stating that he is an optimist, Rao tried to set aside the doubts expressed by some opposition legislators on whether the government can fulfill its promise.
He said the Telangana legislation will be on the lines of a legislation formulated by Tamil Nadu in 1994, which took the overall quota in that state to 69% and the same was included in 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
"When Tamil Nadu can do it, why not Telangana. We will be providing quota in our state. We need this because the social composition of Telangana is such that weaker sections constitute 85% of the population," he said
As the inclusion of Tamil Nadu legislation in the 9th Schedule was challenged in the Supreme Court, he said Telangana will also implead in the case.
Referring to the point raised by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, the Chief Minister said there would be no threat to current four percent quota to Muslims as it is within 50% limit.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said Sudhir Commission constituted to study the living standards of the minorities in the state had submitted its report. He said the report was sent to the Backward Classes Commission to make recommendations for reservations based on the population figures.
KCR said the BC Commission was seeking opinions from various sections and will submit its recommendations to the government. A bill will be formulated within a month, taking into consideration the observations made by courts during the hearing on the issue in the past.
Making a statement on the minorities' welfare, the Chief Minister said after the formation of the Telangana state sincere efforts were made to remove insecurity among the minorities, instill confidence among them and protect their identity.
He said a comprehensive plan was prepared for the welfare and development of minorities, who constitute 14.24% of the state's population.
He said in the first budget of Telangana, Rs 1,030 crore was allocated for the welfare and development of the minorities and the allocation was hiked to Rs.1,204 crore during the current year.
Stating that the backwardness among the minorities can be eradicated only through education, he said the government decided to set up residential schools for them at a cost of Rs 8,000 crore. During 2016-17 academic year, 71 minority residential schools were started. Another 129 schools will be started in the next academic year.
For those minorities' students pursuing their education abroad, the government introduced Overseas Scholarships Scheme and last year 463 students were given Rs 10 lakh scholarship each besides providing their airfare. This year the scholarship amount will be doubled.
The government is providing pre-metric and post-metric scholarship to minority students and spent Rs 219 crore on this during 2015-16.
Under Shaadi Mubarak scheme, financial assistance of Rs.51,000 being extended for the marriage of each poor girl. The government has so far extended help for marriage of 51,452.