AAM members are appointed to a two-year term. They monitor and review all government welfare programmes and schemes for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and minorities, including Christians.
Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of the government’s Planning Commission, chairs the 29-member body. Most members are secretaries in various ministries.
Other members include Mr Soli Sorabjee, Dr Yogendra Yadav, Mr Partha Chatterjee, Prof Virginius Xaxa, Prof Mrinal Miri, Ms Shabnam Hasmi and Prof Akhtar-ul-Wasey.
Mr Philip has worked at senior levels for a number of publications, including the Hindustan Times, the Indian Express and the Tribune. He writes regularly for Indian Currents and the Union of Catholic Asian News agency (UCA News).
He is the recipient of the Indian Catholic Press Association Award for 2003. He also won the Mar Chrysostom Navathy Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2009.
His appointment has been greeted with satisfaction by Indian Catholics.
“The appointment of Mr Philip to the federal post is a matter of pride for the Christian community. We are hopeful that the cry of the poor Indian would be reflected through the participation of Mr Philip in the federal government's planning commission,” Fr Mrutunjaya Digal of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar told AsiaNews.