The government today announced the reconstitution of the National Integration Council (NIC) to reflect the changes in the union cabinet as also the wider political and social fabric.
The 147-member NIC, headed by the prime minister, has union ministers, chief ministers of states and union territories, heads of political parties, eminent media persons, public figures, representatives of business and women's representatives as members.
The NIC was set up in 1961 by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru following a National Integration Conference held in September-October 1961 to find ways and means to combat the evils of communalism, casteism, regionalism linguism and to formulate definite conclusions in order to give a lead to the country.
The NIC held its first meeting in 1962. The council has held 14 meetings so far, with the last meeting on 13 October 2008.
The NIC meetings discuss various issues relating to national integration and communal harmony in the context of the various disputes, regionalism, communalism, role of educational institutions and responsibility of the mass media, among others.
Besides, prime minister Manmohan Singh (chairman), the list includes union ministers: Pranab Mukherjee (minister of finance), Sharad Pawar (minister of agriculture and consumer affairs, food and public distribution), AK Antony (minister of defence), P Chidambaram (minister of home affairs), Mamata Banerjee (minister of railways), M Veerappa Moily (minister of law and justice), Kapil Sibal (minister of human resource development), Ambika Soni (minister of information and broadcasting), Dayanidhi Maran (minister of textiles), Farooq Abdullah (minister of new and renewable energy), Mukul Wasnik (minister of social justice and empowerment), Kantilal Bhuria (minister of tribal affairs), Salman Khursheed (minister of state for corporate affairs and ministry of minority affairs), Krishna Tirath (minister of state for women and child development).
Also included are the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Arun Jaitley;