Government forms committee to set agenda for NIC meet

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - The government Tuesday formed a standing committee led by Home Minister P. Chidambaram that will set an agenda for the meeting of the prime minister-led body which reviews matters relating to national integration and makes recommendations on such issues.

Members of the standing committee for the National Integration Council include four cabinet ministers and nine chief ministers, a home ministry statement said.

The committee will also have co-opted members of the NIC including Hindustan Times chairperson Shobhana Bhartia, Muslim scholar Asghar Ali Engineer, noted lawyer Fali S. Nariman, TV journalist Barkha Dutt and president of the Indian Union Muslim League E. Ahmad, who is also minister of state for railways.

“The agenda items for the meeting of National Integration Council will be finalised by the Standing Committee of the council,” the statement said.

The NIC headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reconstituted in April with 147 members, including central ministers, Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and the chief ministers of all states.

It also includes leaders of national and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures, and representatives of business and women organisations.

Set up in the early 1960s by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the NIC held its first meeting in 1962. The NIC suggests ways and means of combating communalism, casteism and regionalism.

It has held 14 meetings so far with the last one in October 2008 during the first innings of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

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