Press Releases[Back]

December 10, 2006
New Delhi

Clarifications on PM's reference to "First Claim On Resources"

Through a deliberate and mischievous misinterpretation of what the Prime Minister said here yesterday at the meeting of the National Development Council, on fiscal priorities of the government, an avoidable controversy has been generated. The Prime Minister's observations have also been quoted out of context in some sections of the electronic media, fuelling a baseless controversy.

The full text of the paragraph in which the Prime Minister referred to the issue of minority empowerment to clarify the matter is as follows:

"I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalized. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the over-all resource availability."

It will be seen from the above that the Prime Minister's reference to "first claim on resources" refers to all the "priority" areas listed above, including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children and minorities.

It may also be noted that these observations of the Prime Minister were made after referring to the very good performance of the Indian economy in recent months, and the expectation that the economy would continue to do well, creating new income and employment opportunities for all sections of society. While better off sections of society will benefit from this process, it is the responsibility of the Government to pay special attention to the welfare of weaker and marginalized sections. The Prime Minister has said on several occasions that "India must shine, but shine for all".