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National Integration Council reconstituted

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 2. The UPA Government today announced reconstitution of the National Integration Council (NIC) under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. The 103-member NIC has been constituted after a gap of 12 years having held its last meeting in 1992.

Besides Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and political leaders, the NIC will have representation from various categories such as national commissions, media persons, business, eminent public figures and women.

The NIC will have 11 Cabinet Ministers, and leaders of all major political parties like Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Harkishan Singh Surjit (Communist Party of India-Marxist), A.B. Bardhan (CPI), Mayawati (BSP), L.K. Advani, (BJP) and Sharad Pawar (NCP).

Leaders of regional political parties have also been nominated. They are: M. Karunanidhi (DMK), Dr. Farooq Abdullah (National Conference), Zoramthanga (Mizo National Front), Ajit Singh, (Rashtriya Lok Dal), Prakash Singh Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal), and N. Chandrabau Naidu (Telugu Desam Party).

The reconstituted body will also include the chairpersons of the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, the National Commission for Women and the National Human Rights Commission.

Among representatives of business are: S.K. Munjal, K.K. Birla, Ratan Tata, Rahul Bajaj, N. R. Narayana Murthy and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Among the 36 public figures named on the NIC are: V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H.D. Deve Gowda, Jyoti Basu, Mrinal Sen, M.S. Swaminathan and Ram Jethmalani.

Among the 17 media persons are: N. Ram, D. N Bezbaruah, Mammen Mathew, Syed Zahid Ali Khan and Dr. R. Lakshmipathi. The 10 women's representatives include Ela Bhatt, Dr. Sayeeda Hameed, and Indira Jaisingh.

The NIC will function as a forum for effective initiative and interaction on issues of national concern, review issues relating to national integration and make recommendations, according to an official release here.

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