Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday favoured a 'fair share' for minorities in central and state government as well as private sector jobs.
Singh, who maintained that the nation 'does not belong to any single race', said young people from minority communities should be provided with skills required for employment.
"It is essential that communal peace and harmony should be maintained and the minorities get a fair share in central and state government and private sector jobs," he told a conference of state minorities commissions in New Delhi.
Also, he said state chief ministers have been asked to put in place a monitoring mechanism over implementation of minority welfare schemes.
The prime minister, who pointed out that a lack of access to common school system was the main factor behind the socio-economic backwardness of minority communities, said the government should work to ensure greater access for Muslim girls to professional education.
"During the current plan period and the next one, we must ensure that concrete schemes for setting up of secondary and higher-secondary schools in blocks and districts having predominantly Muslim population are implemented for the Muslim girls," he remarked.
Widening access for Muslim women to professional education, particularly to medical and engineering courses, should be a priority area of educational programmes, Singh added.
"This nation does not belong to any single race, least of all any group of religious extremists. It belongs to a mosaic of religiously, linguistically and culturally varied communities," the prime minister said.