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'Muslims must have first claim on resources'

Press Trust of India

Posted: Dec 09, 2006 at 1139 hrs IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the ‘first claim’ on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.

"We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources," he said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in New Delhi.

The Centre's resources, he added, will be stretched with greater responsibility given to states in this regard.

"The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within its overall resource availability," he said.

The Planning Commission will undertake a thorough review of ongoing programmes to eliminate those which have outlived their original rationale, Singh added.

"But we cannot escape from the fact that the Centre's resources will be stretched in the immediate future and an increasing share of the responsibility will have to be shouldered by the states," he remarked.

Singh also emphasised that special component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes needed to be revitalised in the country.

Last month, the Prime Minister favoured ‘fair share’ for minorities in government and private jobs as he spoke at the meeting of the National Commission for Minorities.

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