New Delhi: There is a need to use resources gained from higher growth rates for uplift of minorities and “Muslims in particular” and the government is working on bringing uniformity to the growth of all sections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said.
Speaking at a lecture organised by the National Commission of Minorities (NCM), he also said the country experiences “policy diversions” from time to time, but maturity would be to ignore them and move towards growth in a “harmonious” way.
He referred to data on poverty related to various communities and said “there is a need, amongst minorities, amongst certain groups, Muslims in particular, that this advantage of the resource of the state, benefits them in more than one way.”
He said the government is working on the premise that all sections including minorities “need to grow and grow uniformly and is striving to bring uniformity to the extent possible”.
“We also have our fair share of our policy diversions. We are a functional and a reasonably noisy democracy. And therefore whereas the principal agenda really has to be to ensure the welfare of all, diversions do come up and some of them are extremely unpleasant diversions,” Jaitley said.
The “maturity of Indian society would be its ability to ignore these diversions and take us into a path where we can ensure a harmonious relationship in the society and a growth process which benefits to us all”, he said.
“The extent of maturity we display in marginalising these kind of policy diversions, would eventually determine the environment which we can create for a more prosperous India in which every segment of society gets its due,” he added.
During the lecture, Jaitley also raised questions over the plight of minorities in poll-bound West Bengal despite “political stability”, saying according to a report released by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, their living conditions were “extremely inadequate”.
He said the model followed by the state where growth levels were not fast enough to raise standards of all sections could be a factor for the condition of the minorities.
“One of the reasons that struck my mind is that is it in terms of growth of economy, the state followed a model, where growth levels were not fast enough and I think it is a question which should be discussed,” he said.
After Jaitley, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla too said that it was well known that the living conditions of Muslims in Gujarat are better than those in West Bengal.