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That plan foundered, apparently, because of the apprehension of turf battles. Which ministry would pilot the bill, and then, how would this proposed body affect the existing identity-based commissions on minorities, on women, on SC-STs? These should not have been unmanageable hurdles. For instance, as the UK experience of 2007 illustrated, existing commissions could have been merged into the EOC, either in one go, or gradually. If this was too much trouble, as it requires constitutional amendment, there could have been an institutional demarcation of duties between the commissions. However, in 2010, a group of ministers settled the issue — the Equal Opportunities Commission would only deal with equal opportunities for religious minorities. Given that keeping aggrieved constituencies separate and identity-based is politically useful, or can demonstrate government benevolence in a way that a single, competent equality commission would not, this turn of events was perhaps only to be expected. The private sector has also been kept out of the redrafted equal opportunities bill, though it plans to incentivise diversity in private employment. Of course, discrimination against minorities is not just a matter of employment — it pervades areas like housing, for instance. The bill leaves these aspects well alone.
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