equal-opportunity-commission

Context: The Union Ministry for Minority Affairs released various information of the government efforts in uplifting the minorities in India.

Background:

  • A petition filed in the Supreme Court has accused former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of acting on a “whim” and setting up the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee over 15 years ago.
  • The setting up the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee over 15 years ago to inquire into the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community.
  • The petition filed by a few residents of Uttar Pradesh asked the court to stop the government from implementing the recommendations. 
    • They said the report “infringes” on the rights of Hindus.

The Central Government various efforts in the upliftment of minorities:

  • It has made every section of the society an equal partner of progress with the commitment to “Development with Dignity” “Empowerment without Appeasement” and “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” ensuring equal benefits to all sections of the society. 
    • Irrespective of his or her caste, religion, region and community is at the centre of welfare schemes of the Government. 
  • The Government has been treating all the sections of the society including the Muslims as equal partners of the development process. 
    • The Ministry of Minority Affairs and other Ministries/Departments of the Government are implementing various socio-economic and educational empowerment schemes which are benefitting every section of the society including minority communities.
  • The Department Personnel & Training does not maintain separate community wise data on recruitment. 
    • This Ministry implements various schemes with the objective: 
      • To increase the participation of the disadvantaged/underprivileged children/candidates of notified minority communities and 
      • To improve the level of 
        • Education, 
        • Participation in employment, 
        • Skill and entrepreneurship development, 
        • Reducing deficiencies in civic amenities or infrastructure.
  • Further, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has also been set up by Government as per NCM Act, 1992 to
    • Evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States; 
    • Monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures; 
    • Make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments; 
    • Look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities; 
    • Cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommend measures for their removal
    • Conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to the socio-economic and educational development of minorities;  
    • Suggest appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments; 
    • Make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to minorities and in particular difficulties confronted by them; and 
    • Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
  • Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme for the welfare of minorities:
    • The Government ensures that the benefits of various government schemes for the underprivileged reach the disadvantaged and vulnerable sections of the minority communities also. 
    • Under the programme, it is provisioned that, wherever possible, 15% of targets and outlays under various schemes should be earmarked for minorities.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs various schemes:

  • Educational Empowerment:
    • Scholarship Schemes - 
      • Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship. 
      • During the last 7 years, more than 4.52 crore beneficiaries have been provided different scholarships through the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) out of which more than 53% of beneficiaries are female.
    • Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme:
      • To provide financial assistance to students from notified minority communities and whose annual income is below Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum from all sources, to pursue higher education such as M.Phil and PhD.
    • In addition, the Maulana Azad Education Foundation implements the scheme viz. Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for meritorious girls belonging to notified minority communities studying in Classes IX to XII.
    • Naya Savera: 
      • Free Coaching and Allied Scheme which aims to: 
        • Enhance skills and knowledge of students and candidates from notified minorities, 
        • Employment in Government Sector/ Public Sector Undertaking, jobs in the private sector, and 
        • Admission in reputed institutions in technical and professional courses at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. 
      • During the last seven years, about 69,500 candidates have benefitted from the coaching scheme of this Ministry.
    • Nai Udaan: 
      • Support for notified minority community students, on clearing Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), State Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff Selection Commission (SSC) etc.
  • Economic Empowerment:
    • Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn): 
      • It is a skill development initiative for minorities and aims to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon: 
        • Their qualification, 
        • Present economic trends and 
        • Market potential. 
      • It can earn them employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self-employment. 
      • Since 2014-15 approx. 3.92 lakh persons have benefited from  this employment-oriented program.
    • A mission has been launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under the Upgrading the Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) scheme: 
      • To give an effective platform to minority artisans and culinary experts from across the country to showcase and market their finest handicraft and exquisitely crafted products through “Hunar Haats” organized by the Ministry. 
      • The Ministry has engaged institutions of national repute namely, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) and Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) to work in various craft clusters for design intervention, product range development, packaging, exhibitions and brand building etc. 
      • So far, the Ministry has organised 28 “Hunar Haats” in which more than 5.5 lakhs artisans and people associated with them have been provided employment and employment opportunities, out of which more than 50% beneficiaries are women.
    • Nai Manzil - A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities.
    • Gharib Nawaz Employment Training Programme provides short-term job oriented skill development courses to youths belonging to minority communities.
    • National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) Loan Schemes: 
      • To provide concessional loans for self-employment and income-generating activities for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK):
    • Implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, which aims to improve the socio-economic conditions and basic amenities in the identified Minority Concentration Areas.
    • The major projects approved under PMJVK are in sectors of: 
      • Education, 
      • Health and skill, 
      • Residential Schools, School buildings, Hostels, 
      • Degree Colleges, ITIs, Polytechnics, 
      • Smart Class Rooms, 
      • Sadbhav Mandaps, 
      • Health Centres, 
      • Skill Centres, 
      • Sports facilities and
      • Drinking-Water facilities, sanitation facilities etc. 
    • In the last 7 years, under the “Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karykram” (PMJVK) more than 43 thousand basic infrastructure projects have been created in identified Minority concentrated areas across the country.

Related Facts

About Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee:

  • On March 9, 2005, the Prime Minister issued a Notification for the constitution of a High-Level Committee. 
    • To prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India.
  • The seven-member High-Level Committee, chaired by Justice Rajindar Sachar, submitted its final report to the Prime Minister on November 17, 2006. 
    • The Government tabled the Committee Report in Parliament on November 30th.
  • The Sachar Committee has compiled data from a number of sources. 
    • The report frames these issues as related to identity, security and equity. 
    • Barring some generic observations about the causes for the ‘development deficit’ among Muslims, there is no explicit or detailed discussion of the causes of such conditions. 

Committee main recommendations:

  • The Committee made a number of recommendations to address the status of the Muslim community in India, including: 
    • Set up an Equal Opportunity Commission to look into grievances of deprived groups like minorities.
    • Create a nomination procedure to increase the participation of minorities in public bodies.
    • Establish a delimitation procedure that does not reserve constituencies with high minority populations for SCs.
    • Increase employment share of Muslims, particularly where there is a great deal of public dealing. 
      • Work out mechanisms to link madrasas with higher secondary school boards. 
    • Recognise degrees from madrasas for eligibility in defence, civil and banking examinations. 

Term of Reference:

  • The Committee’s mandate was to: 
    • Obtain relevant information and conduct a literature survey on the relative social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India at the state, regional and district levels; 
    • Determine the level of their socio-economic development; 
    • Determine the relative share in public and private sector employment; 
    • Determine the proportion of OBCs from the Muslim community in the total OBC population in various states;
    • Determine access to education and health services, municipal infrastructure and bank credit provided by Government/ public sector entities. 

Source:https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1740369