MAJOR INITIATIVES FOR EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT OF MINORITIES

To address the low participation of the minorities especially Muslims who are
the largest section of educationally backward minorities, in the national education
system, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken several significant
initiatives:-
 SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA) addresses issues of access, equity and quality and
makes schools open and inclusive in the secular space of our polity. The
coverage of the Scheme has been concurrently extended to recognize
volunteering Madarsas/Maktabs supported under SSA as well as those other
volunteering Madrasas/Maktabs which may not be registered or recognized but
supported under SSA interventions in coordination with State Project
Directorates.
 Schemes amenable to earmarking of financial and physical targets for
minorities, have been implemented to ensure that benefit to minority
communities is beyond 15% as in case of SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA) and
Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalaya (KGBV) where share of minorities is upto
20%. In order to enhance participation of minorities in the national education
system, various initiatives have been undertaken – 121 districts with
concentration of Muslim population are specifically targeted for maximising
school access and eliminating infrastructure gaps through opening of 9071
new Primary Schools and 1475 Upper Primary Schools; construction of 21559
additional classrooms and recruitment of 29180 teachers.
 Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) Scheme has been extended to cover all children studying
in classes I-VIII of Government, Government Aided including National Child
Labour Project Schools, madarsas/maqtabs EGS/AIE Centres supported under
SarvaShikshaAbhiyan without any discrimination of caste, gender, etc. Under
the scheme nutritious meal of 450 calories and 12 grams of protein is provided
at primary level (classes I-V) and of 700 calories and 20 grams of protein is
provided at upper primary level (classes VI – VIII).
 Out of 3609 Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas (KGBVs) sanctioned, 490
KGBVs have been sanctioned in blocks having over 20% muslim population out
which 475 are operational enrolling 25% muslim girls.
 Ministry has launched ‘Saakshar Bharat’ the new variant of the National
Literacy Mission on 8.9.2009 with an objective to make 70 million non-literate
adults literate by the end of the 11th Plan. The scheme has special focus on
women, belonging to Minorities. It is proposed to cover 12 million Muslims (10
million women +2 million men) under the programme. Saakshar Bharat is being
implemented in 410 districts where female literacy is less than 50%. The
programme has been rolled out in 372 districts in 25States and 1 Union
Territory. – 2 –
 Jan ShikshanSansthans (JSSs) are imparting vocational training in 33 out of
90 minority concentrated districts in the country.
 The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Teacher Education is under revision. Block
Institutes of Teacher Education (BITEs) are proposed to be established in 196
blocks having concentration of SC/ST and Minorities.
 Due to these interventions the share of Muslim children enrolled at primary &
upper primary level has gone up and those out of school have decreased.
According to District Information System of Education (DISE) the enrolment of
Muslim children at primary and upper primary level for the year 2009-10 was
13.04% & 11.25% respectively.
 Under the scheme of financial assistance for ‘Infrastructure Development for
Private Aided/Unaided Minority Institutes(IDMI) during financial year 2011-12,
Rs.48.43 crore has been released to 10 State Governments to 259 Minority
Institutions.During 2012-13, out of budget provision of Rs.50.00 crore, an
amount of Rs.2.62 crore has been released for 62 institutions in 3 States
(Kerala, Sikkim and Mizoram)
 Under the “Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas’ (SPQEM)
during the financial year 2011-12, Rs.139.53 crore has been released to 9
States for honorarium of teachers, Book Bank/Science Kits, Computer Lab and
Teachers Training etc. to Madrassa teachers teaching modern subjects in 5934
Madrassas. During 2012-13, out of budget provision of Rs.175.00 crore,
Rs.31.57 crore has been released for 1348 Madrasas in 4 States (Chhattisgarh,
MP, UP & Rajasthan)
 The scheme of RashtriyaMadhyamikShikshaAbhiyan, inter alia provides
coverage of special focus groups viz. girls’ education, children belong to SC, ST,
OBC, and Educationally Backward Minorities, which was launched in March,
2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and improve
its quality. Since its inception, 9670 secondary schools have been approved, out
of which 930 have been approved in Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs).
An amount of Rs.2499.81 crore has been released out of total allocation of
funds of Rs.2512.45 crore.
 The certificates/ qualifications of the Madrasa Boards which have been granted
equivalence by the State Education Boards to that of their Secondary and
Senior Secondary qualification have been equated with corresponding
certificates of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council of
Board of School Education in India (COBSE) and other School Examination
Boards, for the purpose of employment and entry to higher levels of education.
Consequential notification by DOP&T has since been issued on 23.2.2010.
 National Monitoring Committee on Minorities’ Education (NMCME):
The National Monitoring Committee on Minorities’ Education (NMCME) was
revived on the 7th
August, 2004 and reconstituted on expiry of its term w.e.f.
23rd
August, 2007. The term of the Committee has expired on 22nd
August,
2010 and has been reconstituted on 23rd
December, 2012. The Committee is
chaired by the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development, and has
representations from eminent educationists, Members of Parliament, representatives of State Governments and representatives of Minority
communities, educational institutions and other stake holders. Besides a
Standing Committee of the National Monitoring Committee on Minorities’
Education, five Sub-Committees on (i) Vocational Education & Skill
Development of Minorities, (ii) Implementation of Schemes Aimed at
Minorities, (iii) Mapping of Educational Requirements of Minorities – Region &
District wise, (iv) Girls’ Education and (v) Promotion of Urdu language and
enhance compatibility amongst minorities through knowledge of English have
also been constituted.The Standing Committee and Sub-Committees have to
visit States to interact with the minority communities, managements of
educational institutions and other stakeholders.
 UGC has approved/sanctioned 285 Women’s Hostels during 11th Plan in
Minority Concentration Districts/Areas. Out of total allocation of Rs.370.19
crore, Rs.203.69 crore have been released till 27th
February, 2012.
 The UGC has approved the guidelines for establishment of centres in
universities for study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy and sanctioned
these centres in 35 universities. Rs.21.53 crores has been released.
 UGC has established 2328 Equal Opportunity Cells for
Minorities/SC/ST/OBCs in 23 Central Universities, 114 State Universities, 12
Deemed Universities and 2179 Colleges and Rs.46.07 crore has been
allocated/released during the 11th
Five Year Plan
 A new scheme to assist States for establishment of a model degree college in
each of the 374 identified higher educationally backward districts having Gross
Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education lower than the national GER has
been operationalised. An amount of Rs.782 crore has been earmarked as the
Central Government share in the 11th
Five Year Plan for the Scheme. In so far
as Minority Concentration Areas/Districts are concerned, 64 such
areas/districts have been identified under this scheme. Approval has been
granted to 15 model degree colleges in Minority Concentration Areas/Districts
out of which an amount of Rs.2.67 crore has been released to 2 colleges.
 Under the Sub-Mission on Polytechnics, the Government of India provides
financial assistance to the State Governments/UTs for setting up of
polytechnics in the un-served and underserved districts during the 11th Plan. A
sum of upto Rs.12.3 crore per polytechnic is provided to the State/UTs, subject
to the condition that the land and recurring cost shall be provided by the State
Governments/UTs. As per the Scheme criteria, 57 districts out of 90 Minority
Concentration Districts are eligible for consideration under the Scheme. So far
an amount of Rs.254.66 crore has been released as initial grants for setting up
of polytechnics in 48 Districts out of 57 Districts.
 Academies for Professional Development of Urdu Medium Teachers have been
set up at three Central Universities viz. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh,
JamiaMilliaIslamia, New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University,
Hyderabad. The Academy at JMI has trained 1675 teachers. MANUU has
trained 3061 teachers and AMU has conducted 16 Refresher
Courses/workshops for Primary/Secondary school teachers and has covered
356 teachers for teaching modern subjects in Urdu medium. An amount of Rs.
4.00 crore for each of these Universities was sanctioned by UGC for
establishment of Academies for Professional Development of Urdu Medium
Teachers during 11th
Plan.  Rs. 61.31 crores have been sanctioned for establishment of ‘Residential
Coaching Academies for Minorities, Women/SCs/STs’’ in Aligarh Muslim
University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Baba Sahib
BhimraoAmbedkar, JamiaHamdard and JamiaMilliaIslamia so far, an amount
of Rs. 30.66 crore has been released by University Grants Commission.
JamiaHamdard has admitted 224 students(66 in 2010, 80 in 2011 & 78 in
2012), Maulana Azad National Urdu University admitted 148 students (81 in
2010 & 67 in 2011), Baba SahebBhimRaoAmbedkar has admitted 223 students
(95 in 2010, 59 in 2011 & 69 in 2012), Aligarh Muslim University has admitted
96 students and JamiaMilliaIslamia has admitted 210(100 in 2010 and 110 in
2011) students.
 National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has been
established by an Act of Parliament with the key objective of ensuring that the
true amplitude of the educational rights enshrined in Article 30 (1) of the
Constitution is made available to the members of the notified religious minority
communities, including the Muslims. NCMEI has issued 6305 minority status
certificates as on 30.6.2012.
 National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is being
strengthened. The Mandate of the Council is being revisited for empowering the
Council to register, examine and award approved qualifications to the students
registered with it up to pre-degree level courses in the Urdu language and
vocational qualifications dovetailing these with National Vocational Education
Qualification Framework whether by statute or otherwise.
 The programmes of the NCPUL are now available at 2009 Study Centres located
in 234 Minority Concentration Districts in 26 States of the country which
include one year Diploma Course in Computer Applications, Business
Accounting & Multilingual DTP (CABA-MDTP), One Year Diploma Course in
Urdu language, one year Certificate Course in Arabic Language and two years
Diploma Course in Functional Arabic. CABA-MDTP scheme has transformed
the Urdu speaking population into employable technical work force and more
than 50% diploma holders are already employed. 50,000 jobs are expected for
Diploma holders under the National Population Register Project.
 In order to preserve and promote traditional calligraphy, a rich heritage of India
and dovetailing it with the modern graphic design to create employment and
entreneurship, the Council is running Calligraphy and Graphic Design Course
at 35 locations in the country.
 Scheme for Urdu Press Promotion has been strengthened to provide for capacity
building of Urdu journalists. New courses on Mass Media, Script Writing and
Dialogue writing are being launched to enhance employment opportunity in
addition to the subsidy provided to Urdu newspapers to avail UNI Urdu News
Service.
*****
Annexure
Salient Findings of Research Conducted by NUEPA – Participation of Muslims in
Higher Education:
1. National Sample Survey 64th
Round conducted in 2007-08 presents the
information on participation in higher education in terms of social and religious
groups. Result shows that the Gross Attendance Ratio (GAR) of Muslims stands at 8.7
percent as opposed to 16.8% GAR of Non-Muslims in higher education. If we compare
the GAR of Muslims with other social groups, we observe that it is higher than the
GAR of Scheduled Tribes at 6.63 percent but lower than the GAR of Scheduled Castes
at 10.65% and much lower than the GAR of Other Backward Classes at 13.67 percent.
2. There is a wide variation in the participation within Non-Muslim community as
we move from ST, SC, OBC and others. It varies from 6.26% in the case of ST to
10.52% in the case of SC, 14.27% in the case of OBC to 29.56% in the case of others.
Thus there is a range of 23 within Non-Muslim community along different social
groups. It is interesting to observe that there is no such wide variation in the
participation within Muslim community as we move from ST, SC, and OBC to others.
GAR of ST is 5.6%, SC is 14.2%, OBC is 8.7% and that of others is 8.6%.
3. Participation by consumption expenditure groups: An interesting question that
emerges from the information is that whereas the top quartile of the Muslims does
show highest participation in relation to all the bottom four quartiles, the
differentiation in participation even within top quartile between communities is very
high.
4. The important characteristics of Muslim participation in higher education is
that at higher levels of higher education, such as, at the post graduation level,
attendance of Muslims falls down considerably. Besides, higher percentage of Muslims
(as compared to non-Muslims, 22.4% as compared to 19.2%) ends up doing Diploma
& Certificate below Graduate Level.
5. The third characteristics of Muslim participation in higher education is that
higher overall participation of Muslim ST and SC and lower degree level participation
of Muslim ST and SC as compared to Non-Muslim ST and SC only means Muslim ST
and SC participation is higher in post secondary diploma and certificate. It means
Muslim ST and SC prefer to join post secondary education for a short period certificate
and diploma course and they have lower participation at degree level. However, overall
higher participation in diploma course compensates for lower participation at degree
level. As a result overall diploma and degree participation for Muslim ST and SC is
higher in comparison to Non-Muslim ST and SC.
6. Level-wise Educational Inequality of Participation: Group Analysis
Educational participation in terms of graduates at different levels of education
is presented in terms of social, religious and economic groups. In the information
given in the table elementary i.e.; first stage of education is taken as the base and
index of graduates at other levels of education is calculated. Graduates, at different
levels of education, give the picture of stock available at a point of time. However, the
comparison tells us which group at what level suffers from the deficit of graduates. As
noted above, the identical stock at different levels is an ideal scenario of equality in
level wise participation in education. Any deviation from the ideal is something of
interest to know.
7. It is important to note that there is sharp fall in the number of graduates at junior secondary level for ST, SC and OBC social groups. In the religious group, the
fall in the number of graduates at junior secondary level for the Muslims may be
noted. However, the fall is not as high as ST, SC and OBC. In the religious group, NonMuslim do not show fall at the junior secondary level. In terms of economic groups,
the fall in the number of graduates at the junior secondary level is largest for I group.
The fall is reduced as the consumption expenditure group increases. It may be
concluded that to increase educational participation at higher levels of education the
number of graduates at Jr. secondary level needs to be increased especially for ST, SC,
OBC and the Muslims and income groups I, II and III as a matter of priority.
8. It is a matter of concern that a further deficit of graduates occurs for SC, ST,
OBC, I and II income group at the senior secondary level and to a lesser extent for
Muslims and income group III. Non-Muslim also suffers from sharp fall in the number
of graduates at senior secondary level from a high number of graduates at junior
secondary level.
9. Participation in higher education in terms of number of graduates very much
depends on the manner in which the fall in the number of graduates in different
groups take place at different levels of education. The number of graduates at different
levels of school education for different social groups
10. It is thus clear from the analysis that unless the participation in terms of
graduates at the first three levels of education is enhanced for SC, ST, OBC, I, II and
III income group, it would be meaningless to talk of higher participation in higher
education.
11. Factors Identifying Low Participation of Muslims in Higher Education
The central objective of the proposed research is to identify the factors for low
participation of Muslims in higher education. Factor analysis was conducted to
identify the factors responsible for low participation of Muslims. A sample of 402
Muslim students who are already studying in higher education institutions was
randomly served the questionnaire. In the questionnaire participating students’
perceptions were captured to understand the factors responsible for low participation
of Muslims in higher education. Factor analysis was conducted with a set of 30
questions on four point scale. Scale was given rank 1 for most agreed, rank 2 for
agreed, rank 3 for somewhat agreed and rank 4 for not agreed. Question is treated as variable in factor analysis. From the responses received through the questionnaire the
factor analysis facilitates in understanding the perceptions of individuals in terms of
factors. The factors pool different interrelated questions (variables) together under one
factor. A set of relevant factors may finally explain the perception of individuals in
understanding a phenomenon.
12. Factors for Low Participation of Muslims in Higher Education
The rotation of factor structure has clarified the things considerably. The first
factor pools five variables. Family expectation to take up a job (variable 26), value for
traditional profession in the family(variable 27), compulsion to start earning soon to
support the family(variable 15), tough to break the barrier of family profession
(variable 1) and last variable with lowest factor loading can be ignored. Factor 1,
therefore, turns out to be “income barrier”. Under Factor-1, family profession is valued
because it provides economic security. Family mode of traditional profession that is
linked to the traditional occupation followed in the family might not be remunerative
enough. This creates compulsion for an individual to search out for a job after school
education. Hence factor-1 explains the inability of an individual to break the family
profession and at the same time creates compulsion to earn early income to
supplement the income from family profession. This, in the perception of an
individual, income is the important deterrent for Muslims in the participation of higher
education.
The second factor also pools five variables together. My religion encourages
individual to have higher education (variable 23), Our religious community values
higher education (variable 28), Madarsa/school education is progressive and helps one
to join higher education (variable 21), My family believes that an individual must have
religious values for a decent life (variable 25), Cultural values of our religious
community motivates me to pursue higher education (variable 2) have all been pooled
under factor 2. This is the most interesting result. It establishes the fact that in the
perception of an individual religion is a facilitating factor for participation in higher
education.
Under Factor- 2 religion is considered in many ways as a strength for the
Muslim community for higher studies. Belief of a family that religious values and
decent life go together is quite significant. Cultural values of Muslims are important in
motivating individual to pursue higher education. At the level of religious community
there is premium attached with higher studies. The progressive role of
Madarsa/school education is accepted in helping to join higher education. We had
thought this to be barrier, but to our surprise it turns out to be strength in various
ways for participation in higher education.
The third factor pools four variables together. Higher education is an
investment good that have high future returns (variable 7), higher education is as
necessary as any other consumption good necessary for the survival (variable 8),
higher education is necessary for a good marriage (variable 11), higher education
provides the prestige that I need to have (variable 9). These variables point to the
returns from higher education. Higher education provides an opportunity that an
individual is expected to exploit. There are economic returns from investment. Higher
education as consumption good is considered necessary for survival. Higher education
has social return as it facilitates good marriage and earns prestige in the society.
Thus, there is the income barrier in terms of following the family profession and
compulsion to earn early. Against this barrier, is the opportunity to get high returns
by investing in higher education. It is thus the interplay of two factors – cost subject to
the income constraint and returns subject to the availability of finance – that to a great
extent determines the participation of Muslims in higher education. Among the five variables under fourth factor, there are two variables with high
factor loadings. They are: (i) higher participation at the school level only will lead to
higher participation at higher education level (variable 13), (ii) I am confident that my
marks will be high to get me into higher education (variable 14).Other variables with
low factor loadings can be ignored. This factor may be termed as school factor. Higher
participation as well as high marks i.e both access with quality education – at school
level will ensure high participation of Muslims in higher education.
The mathematical factor analysis has provided way to simplify the complexity of
the data that reflects the real world.
Continuing traditional profession compelling to join the job market (Income
barrier) emerges as the main factor for low participation in higher education.
Expectation of social and economic return from higher education (opportunity for
return) emerges as the main motivating factor for the participation of Muslims in
higher education. School factor, on the other hand, shows that not only the proportion
of eligible but also the performance at secondary school level is necessary for higher
participation. It is important to note that religion in the perception of students plays a
positive role and, therefore, Madarsas need to be modernized, mainstreamed and
supported at par with any secondary schools in India, particularly so in the regions
which have Muslim Concentrated Population.
********

‘Minority ministry should strive to utilise all its funds’

By Syed Amin Jaferi

The Union ministry of minority affairs has sought a massive eight-fold increase in the Plan outlay for welfare of minorities during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17). The outlay projected for the 12th Plan is a whopping cRs 8,589 crore, compared to Rs 7,000 crore in the 11th Plan (2007-12).

The ministry formulated the proposals for 12th Plan on the basis of the recommendations of the Working Group on Empowerment of Minorities and forwarded the same to the Planning Commission in December 2011. The Planning Commission is yet to finalise the outlay for the 12th Plan. The annual Plan outlay for 2012-13, the first year of the 12th Plan period, was finalized on ad hoc basis in February 2012 and the ministry has been allocated Rs 3,135 crore in the Union Budget.

The 12th Plan proposals of the ministry envisage huge step-up in allocations for the existing 12 schemes and big outlays for the 10 new schemes that are proposed to be implemented during the plan period. A massive outlay of Rs 28,275 crore is envisaged for the four scholarship schemes, including Rs 12,267 crore for pre-matric scholarships, Rs 13,038 crore for post-matric scholarships, Rs 2,353 crore for merit-cum-means scholarships for professional and technical courses and Rs 617 crore for Maulana Azad National Fellowships. Another Rs 23,380 crore has been projected for the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) for 169 minority concentration districts (MCDs).

Other projected allocations include Rs 750 crore towards grants-in-aid for Maulana Azad Education, Rs 1,075 crore for equity investment in National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC), Rs 184 crore for free coaching and allied schemes, Rs 250 crore for research studies and publicity, Rs 25 crore for state channelizing agencies, Rs 75 crore for scheme for leadership development of minority women and Rs 6 crore for computerization of records of state wakf boards.

For the 10 new schemes, the projected allocations include Rs 3,000 crore for scheme for promotion of education in 100 minority concentration towns/cities, Rs 500 crore for development of minority concentration villages not covered by MSDP, Rs 163 crore for free cycles for girl students of Class IX, Rs 75 crore for assistance to students clearing prelims under Civil services examinations, Rs 100 crore for skill development initiatives, Rs 90 crore for support to district level institutions in MCDs, Rs 25 crore for scheme of interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies, Rs 90 crore for strengthening of state wakf boards, Rs 35 crore for GPS for wakf properties, and Rs 20 crore for scheme for containing population decline of Parsi community.

All these proposals and projections for the 12th Plan appear ambitious but necessary, given the enormity of task of ensuring the educational and economic development of the minorities, namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists, who account for 18.4 percent (22.26 crore) out of India’s 2011 census population of 121 crore. The per capita plan outlay for minorities, thus, works out to a measly Rs 2,632 during 12th Plan (or Rs 526 per annum).

As stated earlier, the Planning Commission is yet to finalise the allocations for the ministry of minority affairs for the 12th Plan. Since a meager allocation of Rs 3,135 crore has been made in the first year of the plan, the annual allocations have to be raised to an average of Rs 13,863 crore in each of the remaining four years (2013-14 to 2012-17). This definitely seems to be a tall order, given the propensity of the ministry to under-spend the budgetary allocations made in the last five years (11th Plan period) and surrendering of the unspent funds to the government.

The 26th report of the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment on the demands of the ministry of minority affairs for 2012-13 makes scathing observations about the performance of the ministry during the 11th Plan period. Though the Planning Commission had originally approved an outlay of Rs 7,000 crore for the ministry, the budgetary allocations over the five-year period (2007-12) amounted to Rs 8,690 crore. The ministry could spend only Rs 6,826 crore (78%) of the allocations and surrendered a whopping amount of Rs 1,864 crore during the five-year period.

The Standing Committee, while expressing serious concern over the trend of under-utilization of funds, asked the ministry to analyze the implementation of various schemes so as to ensure that the budgetary allocations are effectively utilized and the schemes are implemented in proper way. The Committee hoped that the ministry would strive hard to achieve 100% utilisation of funds allocated for the year 2012-13 which have been increased to Rs 3135 crore for all their schemes and programmes.

Source : http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-28/hyderabad/31876897_1_outlay-minority-concentration-multi-sectoral-development-programme

Government committed to welfare of minorities: Khurshid

Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the government was committed to the welfare of minorities in India as the government Friday began monitoring the implementation of the schemes launched for the purpose.

“We must understand the ground reality of these areas to take necessary steps. The government is committed to uplifting the minority communities and it is important to monitor the schemes launched for this purpose,” Khurshid said.

He was speaking to reporters here after he inaugurated a two-day workshop on how to monitor the implementation of the programmes.

The government has initiated development projects and schemes in 150 minority concentration districts of the country as part of the the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme for the welfare of minorities that includes enhancing opportunities for education.

The minister admitted that there were complaints about the implementation of such schemes. “But one cannot say that nothing has happened. A lot still needs to be done.”

He said the government in 2010 gave out six million scholarships to the students of minority communities, particularly Muslims.

“Besides that, more than 750 fellowships were issued by (the University Grants Commission) UGC for students belonging to the minority community. In the next two years, we are planning to give around one crore scholarships.”

India is home to the third largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.

Of the country’s 1.2 billion population, Muslims are the largest minority at 14 percent followed by Christians at 2.3 percent, Sikhs at 1.9 percent, Buddhists at 0.8 percent, Jains at 0.4 percent and others, including Parsis, at 0.6 percent.

Source : http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=250180

Himachal Pradesh: Skill Development Projects to uplift minority community

The State Government is implementing two Skill Development Projects to impart training to the minority youth. Stating this in a meeting here today, Director, Rural Development, Dr. R.N. Batta, said that these projects would be implemented in district Chamba, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Una by HIMCON and IL&FS respectively.

Dr. Batta was presiding over a meeting regarding upliftment of minority community. He said that the minority youth would be imparted skill training under both these projects and the willing candidates could submit simple application to the Director, Rural Development Department, S.D.A. Complex, Block No. 27, Kasumpti, Shimla-9. He said that the training would be imparted free of cost on the basis of their educational qualification and market/area needs.

Present in the meeting were Dr. Purnima Chauhan, Director, Urban Development, Shri V.K. Modgil, Deputy Director, Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Shri Devender Singh, Deputy Director, Technical Education Department, Sundernanagr, District Mandi, Dr. R.K. Anand, SMS (AH) Rural Development Department, Shri Mustak Qureshi, Non-official Member, Minorities Commission, Shri Surinder Singh Saini, Non-official Member, Minorities Commission, Shri N.L. Sharma, Chief Manager, HIMCON, Shri Ashish Agarwal, IL&FS, Chandigarh and Shri Ranjan Anand, A4e India Pvt. Ltd..

Source : http://www.orissadiary.com/Shownews.asp?id=26145

”Minorities in Himachal unaware of welfare schemes’

Most people belonging to the minority communities in Himachal Pradesh are unaware of the various developmental schemes instituted by the centre, a member of the Minority Commission of India said here today.
“Most of them are unaware of various schemes including the scholarship schemes for students and loan schemes for people belonging to minority communities,” S Angmo, member of the Minority Commission of India told PTI.
She said the state department of social justice and empowerment must work hard to make people aware of these schemes so that these communities can benefit.
“15 of the 15 point plan is being spent for the development of the minorities, so that they can get the equal opportunities,” Angmo said, adding that she will recommend setting up of a branch of the Minorities Finance commission at Dharamsala.
At present there is only one branch in Himachal Pradesh at Shimla.
She said mobile schools and hostels should be built in the remote areas of the state for the minorities.
Representatives of various minority communities including Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians met Angmo here.
While members of the Christian community raised the demand to take the Christ Church of Shimla under World Heritage, the Buddhists emphasised the need to include Bhoti language in the 8th schedule.
Bhoti is spoken in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and Lahoul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh.

Source : http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4960505

Welfare of minorities discussed

The Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) organized here on Wednesday fifth of its series of 14 national workshops on `Economic Empowerment of the Deprived Through Timely Information and its Utilization .

The twin objectives of the workshop were to create awareness amongst the participants about umpteen schemes launched by the government for the welfare of minority communities and imparting training on how to make best use of Right to Information Act to monitor the implementation of these schemes.

Noted social activist from Maharashtra Nisar Ahmad Tamboli explained at length the various schemes, Acts, policies, funds, institutions, courses, scholarships etc available for the minorities at the Central and state levels.

In his inaugural address, ZFI joint secretary Mumtaz Najmi threw light on the issues faced by the minority communities. He discussed in detail the ZFI s RTI action driven discovery of the non-implementation of the PM s new 15-Point Programme for the welfare of minorities and the report of the PM s High Level Committee on Muslims (Sachar Committee).

He drew the participants attention to the Sachar Committee s observation that electoral constituencies with high Muslim and low Scheduled Castes (SCs) population have been reserved for the SCs. On the other hand, there is another set of constituencies with high SC and low Muslim population which have not been reserved for SCs.

Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Welfare-of-minorities-discussed/articleshow/7463521.cms

Kerala to set up department for welfare of minorities

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Cabinet has decided to constitute a department for the welfare of minorities.

The Cabinet, which held a late evening meeting here on Wednesday, also decided to create the necessary posts. The decision is a follow-up on the Paloli Committee recommendations for the implementation of the Sachar Committee Report in the State. The State had earlier created a separate cell for minority welfare. The present decision is to upgrade it to the status of a full-fledged department.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, which paid tributes to former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the Cabinet had also approved the Bill for constituting a State Minorities Commission as directed by the Central government.

The meeting decided to extend by six months the moratorium on revenue recovery measures relating to loans taken by fisher folk from private money-lending institutions and individuals. It further decided to make it mandatory for high-tension and extra high-tension power consumers to subject themselves to energy audit every three years under the provisions of the Kerala State Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

The Cabinet gave clearance for acquisition of 1,020 acres of land for widening the Kottayam-Kumarakom Road and decided to pay an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of sub-inspector Rajan, who died on duty, and to give out-of-turn employment to his dependent. It also approved a proposal to enhance by 50 per cent the monthly allowance being paid to members of the royal family of the erstwhile kingdom of Kochi.

On the allegations of corruption against former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan’s kin P.V. Srinijan, the Chief Minister said persons in high judicial offices should be above errors and mistakes.

Source : http://hindu.com/2010/12/30/stories/2010123059370100.htm

 

Skill development plan for minorities

By Ruhi Tewari

India is planning to start a programme to impart skills to the poor among minority communities that will lead to job opportunities.

The project targeting youth from poor families will be a joint effort of the rural development and minority affairs ministries.

A pilot project, which will focus initially on districts that have large populations from the minority communities, is expected to be taken up in the fiscal starting 1 April 2011. It will pay special attention to those who have not received any formal education.

“The programme will provide impetus to provide gainful employment to the underprivileged,” said C.P. Joshi, minister for rural development.

Joshi and Salman Khursheed, minister for minority affairs, met on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. Khursheed said his ministry welcomed this initiative by the rural development ministry.

The proposed project will use the curriculum and methodology of the national open schools (NOS). Established in 1989, NOS provides vocational, life enrichment and community-oriented courses, besides general and academic programme at secondary and senior secondary levels.

The project will then follow up with skill-development programmes for two months. This, the ministries hope, will eventually lead to placement opportunities for the target communities.

This initiative to assist minority communities in enhancing living standards is in tune with the ruling Congress party’s poll promise of empowering the weaker sections of society.

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4 years after Sachar report: Are Muslims better off?

By Abusaleh Shariff  in Outlook

It is essential to begin this essay by emphasising that minorities, including the Muslims, maintain aspirations and seek opportunities for development like any other community in India. Yet an empirical review suggests that Muslims are lagging practically in all spheres of development, including education, employment, income, assets and so on. There have been efforts by both the Centre and state governments to overcome deprivation amongst the Muslims across India, but a quick review of outcomes suggest little improvement. There is a need for durable changes, a recognition that deprivation amongst the minorities/Muslims exists due to systemic causes which can be set right only through broad-based public policy initiatives, not just through special purpose vehicles such as the minority/Muslim-oriented programmes; in fact, it would be best to assist them to strive to access their share within the mainstream line of ministries, departments and programmes.

India, through the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment, has made a strong sociopolitical statement of its arrival as a mature democracy, championing multi-layered decentralised governance, sharing substantial powers and a national pool of resources with the states. Further, the enduring canons of governance and economic development are grounded in the principles of socialism, inclusiveness and secularism and fully conscious of regional imbalance.

Like the other main communities of India, the Muslims should have been able to pursue social, economic and educational aspirations within the framework and support of state-provided infrastructure, opportunities and political awakenings. One expects that the ‘diversity’ natural to our population would be reflected in public spheres such as in educational institutions, public and organised sector employment, political systems and governance structures at all levels. Yet, in spite of the fact that practically all social, educational and economic spheres of living are governed and regulated by the states, one finds substantial differences (often unacceptable levels) between varied social groups and across states. Such differentials are prominent in spite of special constitutional provisions bestowed upon the minorities since Independence.

Maintaining diversity in public spheres is a must. If it does not happen naturally, it has to happen via state intervention.

Over 150 million citizens, just about 14 per cent of all Indians, profess Islam as their religion and reside in all parts of India. Muslims are the largest (80 per cent) of all the identified minorities. They reside in substantial numbers and proportions in states such as Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, UP and Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra and so on. There are examples and best practices found within India. Consider the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, all have devised policies favouring Muslims at two levels. Muslims here have relatively better access to quality mass education (both elementary and higher level) and employment; and given the history of relative deprivation of the Muslims, the states have extended the benefit of reservations in a certain measure of fractional-proportions linked to their size and share in the population. Such quotas are enabling Muslim girls and boys to catch up with their peers amongst the Hindus and Christians, both in education and employment. Similar provisions enable Muslims to participate even in the political spaces. AP has made a beginning by promoting a system of ‘co-option’ or ‘nomination’ system to the mandals, zila parishads and municipalities/nagar panchayats (AP Panchayat Act, 2006).Maintaining diversity in public spheres is essential. When this does not happen naturally, it has to be made to happen through government intervention. Legislation can be one way (the mechanism is to remind the government and the institutions that ensuring diversity is their responsibility). Diversity can also be assured by offering incentives/credits to government departments, institutions, universities and so on. Another means is to provide institutional access to citizen representatives (including those from the minorities) to ensure ‘equity’ in the public sphere. An ‘Equal Opportunities Commission’ will go a long way in both ensuring diversity as a key state objective, and also as an institution to enforce redressal.

The Centre has made some efforts during the past 3-4 years to address various aspects of Muslim deprivation. Under the revised 15-point programme, a special investment programme is on in about 100 minority concentration districts (MCDs); exclusive scholarships have been announced for the first time to cover minorities, both in elementary and at higher levels of education. The RBI is consistently sending memos to public sector banks to increase funding to applicants from the minorities and so on. However, a review of all the above suggest that the MCD programme has not even made a presence in many states like West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Gujarat. The overall utilisation is less than 20 per cent of the total funds earmarked for the programme since inception. Similarly, the scholarship programme, although very popular, is able to cover only a fraction of total applicants. And it appears that the public sector banks have not even taken note of the repeated requests by the RBI, a matter of utmost concern.

The larger malice of exclusion has to be fought unitedly by all ‘regular-line departments’ and ministries at the national and state levels. It also needs collaboration and partnership with civil society and private institutional structures. Will a separate ministry ensure the implementation of the over 300 programmes that aim to alleviate poverty and improve human development, promote inclusiveness of the excluded, whether they be SCs, STs or Muslims?

In the absence of any timeline, programme-specific implementative strategy and clarity on monitoring mechanisms, no results will be forthcoming. It is important to mention here that a flat policy of earmarking 15 per cent of budgetary allocations to favour the minorities is not implementable. Rather, the service delivery procedures must use population shares at the “programme-specified operational levels” such as the district, taluka and block levels so as to ensure maximum coverage and provide a sense of equity. The early euphoria and expectations are dying out. UPA-1 took many initiatives to diagnose the problem; now UPA-2 must ensure that inclusive policies are actually implemented before the people at large become disappointed. I only hope that government procrastination on issues related to Muslims does not lead to frustration.


(The author is an economist who oversaw the writing of the Sachar Commission report.)

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An Unequal Opportunity Commission

By Farah Naqvi in The Hindu

Justice Rajinder Sachar presenting the Sachar Committee report to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Media reports tell us that the Ministry of Minority Affairs is reluctantly re-drafting the framework for the next session of Parliament. File Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Justice Rajinder Sachar presenting the Sachar Committee report to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Media reports tell us that the Ministry of Minority Affairs is reluctantly re-drafting the framework for the next session of Parliament. File Photo: R.V. Moorthy

The GoM’s decision that an EOC should exist only for the minorities is bad for Muslims, bad for a secular polity and bad for all other deprived and discriminated groups.

An Equal Opportunity Commission that protects only a chosen (albeit highly unequal) few. This contradiction in terms is the considered wisdom of a Group of Ministers (GoM), recently constituted to study the potentially seminal anti-discrimination measure. Only in India, where we excel in bursting forth with good ideas only to rapidly lose the plot, would someone propose an idea as critical as an Equal Opportunity Commission and proceed to kill it at birth with blatant inequality. The GoM has decided that an EOC should exist only for the minorities ( generally seen as a euphemism for Muslims who officially constitute over 70 per cent of the minority population). This decision is bad for Muslims, bad for a secular polity and bad for all other deprived and discriminated groups.

The Sachar Committee, set up to study the social, economic and educational status of Muslims proposed in 2006 an Equal Opportunity Commission to provide a remedy against discrimination. President Pratibha Patil’s speech of June 4, 2009 subsequently committed UPA-II to setting it up. In the meantime, in impressively rapid action, a framework for an EOC had already been prepared in February 2008 by an experts group constituted by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. While the framework and the draft bill itself are extremely weak (more on that later), the point here is that it was made clear that an EOC should cover all deprived and discriminated groups.

The GoM’s logic is worrisome. One, we are told that since the idea of an EOC emerged from the Sachar report, which looked at Muslims, the EOC must logically confine itself to the ‘minorities’. This is like saying that if suggestions for vital legal reforms emanate from the experience of violence against Christians in Kandhamal, the legal provisions must be applied only to Christians or to Orissa, not to other groups who may suffer mass targeted violence. It is both plain silly and blatantly unfair. The other logic is that an EOC covering discrimination against all groups would overlap with the roles of existing commissions — the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), the National Commission for Women, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, etc. Well, by that logic ‘minorities’ are covered by the NCM and so an EOC should be a non-starter. But if it is a good idea for the minorities because the existing NCM simply does not fulfil the mandate of providing legal redress for widespread, systemic discrimination, then surely it is a good idea for all.

Media reports tell us that the Ministry of Minority Affairs is reluctantly re-drafting the framework (creating a minorities-only EOC?) for the next session of Parliament. Reluctantly — because from all accounts, Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid did argue, and rightly so, for an inclusive EOC. But he was clearly in a minority. The damaging political implications of the GoM’s decision are too obvious to ignore. If such an EOC comes to life, it will only add arsenal to the spent Hindutva armoury on the “appeasement of minorities” discourse. And UPA-II will rapidly undo all the good UPA-I did on the Muslim front. The targeted empowerment of Muslims through special purpose vehicles, programmes and policies (on which we are doing rather badly at the moment) is absolutely critical, and must be supported. But an EOC exclusively for the minorities must not be.

An EOC, along with appropriate anti-discrimination legislation, is desperately needed across the board to strengthen the social justice agenda. Discrimination at every step, in all walks of life actively thwarts the UPA’s stated goal of ‘inclusion’. It prevents Dalits, Muslims, the other minorities, the physically challenged, women and the sexual minorities, among others, from partaking equally of development. It is alarming that in a country where ascriptive identity is the basis for routine discrimination, we have no anti-discrimination legislation or an EOC.

Anti-discrimination legislation and policies must protect against all kinds of discrimination. And must cover multiple spheres of discrimination — in employment (including MNREGS job cards), in education, in giving loans, in allotment of homes, in provision of public services. Other countries, with far fewer endemic, deep-rooted, discriminatory societal norms, often have more than a single anti-discrimination law and multiple mechanisms to protect against a range of discriminations based on gender, race, ethnicity and so on. India, barring the SC/ST Act, which is limited to certain defined “atrocities,” has none. (Even the SC/ST Act, for instance, provides no legal redress to a Dalit who suddenly confronts a ‘houseful’ sign at the time of school admission only to have the non-Dalit child next in line skip through the front door, or who performs so well in the interview but still ‘mysteriously’ fails to get selected for that job).

This brings us to the next problem with the proposed EOC. The experts group, headed by Professor Madhava Menon, has covered many important bases. It speaks of including all groups, and covering both the public and private sectors. But it has essentially proposed yet another toothless institution. “The EOC should focus on advisory, advocacy, and auditing functions rather than grievance redress,” says the report. Yawn. So, what’s the point? This is just another way of saying the EOC will stomp around a whole lot essentially to stand very still. Because it can provide little effective remedy to a victim of discrimination. That is the core problem. The experts group’s framework has focussed more on equal opportunity in broad strokes — suggesting research, codes of good practice, institutional audits, advocacy and advisory functions, and less on actually prohibiting discrimination through strong implementation mechanisms. The draft bill has even failed to state the obvious — that ‘discrimination is illegal.’ Why? Because, according to the proposed bill “discrimination against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth is expressly forbidden by the Constitution itself. Arbitrariness is against the spirit of equal opportunity. There is therefore no need for a separate anti-discrimination law to afford equal opportunity to citizens …”

Now the Constitution is a wonderful document, and its multiple guarantees give endless hope. But if the mere existence of all the Right to Equality mantras enshrined in the Constitution were enough to determine an equal nation, India would be a paradise. It’s not. Since prohibition of discrimination should be at the core of the proposed EOC, it must say so in plain words. Even the Constitution — Article 15 — expressly on the prohibition of discrimination only says, ‘The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them …’ It does not refer to private enterprises, or to a range of other ascriptive identities on the basis of which discrimination may take place.

Prohibiting discrimination and creating equal opportunity conditions — both are needed. One without the other will not work. This is India. Discrimination runs deep. So let the nation re-examine the proposed EOC. Revise the draft bill, create strong legal deterrence against discrimination and then do what’s right for all our citizens. Give them an anti-discrimination law and an institution that can implement it. We cannot legislate against bias and prejudice in the hearts and minds of people, but we can and we must legislate against discrimination in how the fruits of development are distributed among the citizens.

(Farah Naqvi is a writer and activist working on minority rights and gender rights.)

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