Minorities and developmental schemes: India
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Plan funds for Minorities: India
Only 5% of Plan funds spent on minorities Ambitious Scheme Launched To Provide Better Housing, Education Comes A Cropper
One of the significant steps of the first UPA government was to initiate action on the festering issue of exclusion and backwardness amongst minority communities in India, especially the Muslims. As the Sachar Committee had revealed in November 2006, Muslims had a shocking poverty rate of over 31% (compared to the national average of about 22%) and, at 15%, unemployment among Muslim graduates was double that of the majority community.
Representation in civil services, central and state government service, armed forces and judiciary was less than 5% (though Muslims make up over 13% of the population) and ownership of assets or land was proportionally less than others. Clearly, special attention was needed to set this situation right.
The UPA government created a new ministry of minority affairs in 2006 to implement a slew of schemes addressing the problems of backwardness and poverty among Muslims primarily, but also among other minorities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a refurbished 15-point program for educational and vocational deficits among Muslims. In 2007, the government surveyed and identified 90 Muslim concentration districts (MCDs). An ambitious multi-sectoral development plan (MSDP) was launched to provide better housing, sanitation, education, healthcare, credit facilities, employment opportunities etc to minority community members.
MSDP has emerged as the chief vehicle of delivering the UPA government’s promises to remove the developmental deficit of the Muslim community out of the total allocation of Rs 1,756 crore to the ministry of minority affairs in 2009-10, the MSDP alone drew Rs 889.5 crore, that is, over 56% of the ministry’s funds. A performance analysis of this ambitious scheme, done by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), shows that it appears to be floundering.
Of the 90 Muslim concentration districts, 16 have yet to formulate a plan under MSDP. As of September 2009, project activities worth Rs 1,562 crore had been sanctioned for the remaining 74 districts, but only Rs 77 crore had actually been spent, according to data collected by CBGA. That’s just 5% of the total sanctioned amount. For the 11th Plan (2007-12), a total of Rs 2,750 has been set aside for the MSDP. After half the period has already gone by, the expenditure amounts to just 2.8% of the total.
As per a later but incomplete report of the Data Monitoring Unit of the ministry, covering 44 of the 90 MCDs, expenditure till December 2009 had improved slightly, but still stood at a shocking 17% of the total funds available with the districts. In most states, funds for 2009-10 were being released in December 2009.
For current year, just 3,201 houses had been built out of a target of 205,260 for Muslim families, under the Indira Awas Yojana, just 1,523 handpumps had been installed out of the targeted 14,020, only 5 health centers had been built from a target of 1,715, and only 20 anganwadi centers had been built out of 18,970 targeted, according to the ministry’s report.
The main reason behind the pathetic performance is lack of trained and adequate staff, infrastructure and planning at the district and state levels, says CBGA. While involvement of panchayati raj institutions may give the needed impetus to implementation, the UPA government needs to do a reality check on its lofty promises.
UPA’S Minority Report
2013-15: Scholarships, madrassas, skill development
The Times of India, Dec 09 2015
Big jump in loans, scholarships to minorities as govt fights extremism
4 Madrassas To Help Youth Develop Skills
Four madrassas across Bihar and Maharashtra have volunteered to impart skill development training to 1,200 Muslim youth each by integrating with the government-run Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS). Skill training projects have already started at three madrassas in Bihar and a Mumbaibased madrassa under MANAS, a special purpose vehicle established in November 2014 to address skill develop ment needs of minorities and ensure their sustainable ivelihood, with emphasis on self-employment. The four madrassas that have started the skill train ng projects are Hussaini Masjid Darul madrassa, Bhandup, Mumbai; Idara-eSharia Khajur Banna, Patna; Anjuman Islamia madrassa, Motihari, Bihar; and Islamia Anjuman Rafagul Musla min, East Champaran.
MANAS aims to integrate madrassas with skill development on a voluntary basis.Home ministry officials say the training of youth in madrassas through clerics will help the government reach out to minority youth and deter them from being influenced by radical groups such as Islamic State. Incidentally, the government's counter-radi calisation strategy is aimed at engaging impressionable Muslim youth through community elders and religious heads, apart from ensuring their employability.
Incidentally, minority youth are also being provided youth are also being provided placement-linked skill development under the minority affairs ministry's “Seekho aur Kamao“ initiative. As many as 20,980 trainees were sanctioned for training under the scheme in the first seven months of 2015-16, surpassing the figure of 19,169 youth trained in entire 2014-15. In 2013-14, during UPA regime, 19,516 youth were trained under this programme.
Similarly , loans given at concessional rates to minorities by the National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation in 2015-16 until October 2015 totaled Rs 221.44 crore, as compared to Rs 431.20 crore through 201415 and Rs 325 crore in 2013-14.However, number of beneficiaries are fewer at 35,429 in the current financial year (until October) as compared to 1,08,752 in 2014-15.
Meanwhile, the amount of scholarships offered to minority students too has registered a 16% increase in 2014-15, with total disbursements at Rs 2,066.33 as compared to Rs 1,781.74 crore in 2013,14. While pre-matric scholarships rose 17% to Rs 1,129.27 crore over this period, post-matric scholarships were down 2.8% to Rs 501.28 crore, merit-cum-means based scholarships up 46.6% to Rs 381.37 crore and Maulana Azad National scholarship for girl students up by 29.2% to Rs 54.51 crore in 2014-15.
RTE exemptions hurting minority children: NCPCR, 2021
August 12, 2021: The Times of India
Calling for specific guidelines regarding the minimum percentage of minority students to be admitted to a minority institution, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has highlighted that exemptions from the Right to Education Act is depriving children from benefits, including admission under quota for economically weaker sections.
A new study by NCPCR shows that in religious minority schools across communities, 62.5% of the student population belongs to the non-minority community, while 37.5% belong to minorities. Article 30 of the Constitution states the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. Subsequently, in 2012, through amendment, the institutions imparting religious education were exempted from following the RTE Act.
NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo notes that “as this is creating a conflicting picture between fundamental right of children and right of minority communities, it was observed that many children who are enrolled in these minority institutions were not able to enjoy the entitlements that other children covered by RTE are ”.
The commission cited that only 8.7% of students in minority schools belong to socially and economically disadvantaged background.
2021, Non-minority pupils in minority schools
Mohammad Anab, August 14, 2021: The Times of India
A massive 99% of students enrolled in minority schools in Jharkhand belong to non-minority communities — the highest among all states in the country — followed by Uttarakhand where 88% of pupils in such educational institutions do not belong to a minority community, a report by the National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has found.
The report, which was released on August 10, found that 62.5% (or more than 63 lakh) of total 1.2 crore students in minority schools across the country belong to non-minority communities. In many states, this percentage went up to over 70%. Uttarakhand had the second highest population of non-minority students enrolled in minority schools followed by Madhya Pradesh (MP). In the hill state, 88% of students in 67 minority schools — where a total of 69,000 pupils were enrolled — belonged to the non-minority community while in MP, 87% of students in minority schools belonged to the non-minority community. MP had 421 minority schools where slightly over 4 lakh students are enrolled.
Among UTs, 97% of students studying in minority schools in Dadra & Nagar Haveli belonged to non-minority communities followed by Daman & Diu at 85% and Chandigarh at 84%. The findings are part of a nationwide survey of 23,487 minority schools — schools that cater to religious and linguistic minorities. A minority educational institute is an educational institution established and administered by a member or members of a minority community. Article 30 of the Constitution gives linguistic and religious minorities a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
An institution can file an application for grant of minority status certificate before the National Council for Minority Educational Institute (NCMEI) or any other competent authority. According to the report, 31.5% of minority schools had been granted the minority status certificate by a state/UT-level competent body mandated by the NCMEI. “Certain private religious groups as well as other government bodies were found issuing it in a number of states and UTs,” the report said. While there is no quota or mandatory percentage of admissions for non-minority students in a minority education institution, those receiving financial aid from the state are obligated under Article 29 to admit non-minority students to a “reasonable extent”.
The NCPCR has recommended in its report that the government should bring all minority schools under the ambit of the Right to Education (RTE) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan campaign while noting that only 8.7% of total students in minority schools belong to socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Since minority schools are outside the purview of the RTE Act, there is no compulsion to admit students from underprivileged backgrounds. Under the RTE Act, schools have to reserve 25% of the total seats for students from financially weaker backgrounds.
“As a result of the RTE exemption, students studying in minority institutes of all religious and linguistic communities were deprived of their fundamental right guaranteed as part of RTE Act, 2009. It had considerable consequences for students from minority communities since in the absence of guidelines, minority schools functioned arbitrarily, setting their own norms in terms of admission of students, recruitment of teachers, implementation of curriculum, pedagogy etc,” the report said.
R K Kunwar, director of the Academic Research and Training (Uttarakhand), told TOI that minority schools enjoy certain privileges over other schools. “For instance, in Uttarakhand, they are free to appoint a teacher when they want as long as the candidate fulfils the eligibility criteria laid by us. But government schools have to face a long, thorough process where a committee gives approval to fulfil a vacancy,” he said.
UPSC examinations: incentives
2017: a record 131 minority candidates join civil services
Govt: A record 131 minority aspirants cleared civils in ’17, May 1, 2018: The Times of India
In what the minority affairs ministry said was a record since Independence, 131 candidates from minority communities, including 51 Muslims, cleared the civil services examination in 2017. The total number of successful candidates in the exam was 990.
The break-up for other minority communities was not available but ministry sources said they included Christians, Sikhs, Jains, neo-Buddhists and a lone Parsi.
In the 2016 UPSC exam, 126 youths from minority communities, including 52 Muslims, were selected out of the total 1,099 candidates.
Officials said under the ‘Nai Udaan’ and ‘Naya Savera’ schemes, the minority affairs ministry last year revised the financial assistance for those qualifying the UPSC preliminary exam from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. During 2017-18, 105 youth from notified minority communities who qualified the preliminary exam were provided financial assistance.
Through various institutions and organisations, the ministry has been running coaching programmes for minority youths preparing for civil services, other UPSC examinations, medical, engineering and administrative examinations.
Touting the figures as a sign of growing presence of minority communities in decision-making roles in the government, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Centre was committed to create an “environment to enable talent from minority communities to come forward and make their presence felt”.
“This year, there are six Muslims, including three women, in the top 100,” Naqvi said.
Meanwhile, he said the government had floated a global tender seeking applications from shipping firms as part of its efforts to revive the option of sending pilgrims for Haj by sea. Saudi Arabia had earlier given its nod for sea travel to Jeddah, over two decades after the practice was stopped. “The secretary and joint secretary from the ministry will hold talks in Saudi Arabia on issues related to travel of Haj pilgrims by sea,” Naqvi said. The journey via sea route would take three or four days.
51 Muslims and a lone Parsi cleared the civil services exam in 2017.
The break-up for all minority communities wasn’t available, but Christian, Sikh, Jain and neo-Buddhist aspirants made it
2013-16: an increase
The Times of India, May 08 2016
Andhra & T'gana Top Beneficiaries, Got Rs 1,095L
Despite the NDA government's run-ins with NGOs and the impression that it is “unfriendly“ to minority institutions, there has been a sharp rise in central funds sanctioned to voluntary organisations and other entities empanelled under free coaching and allied schemes for minority communities. Figures presented by minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday show that disbursals in 2014-15 recorded a significant jump over 2013-14 when UPA was in office. Replying to former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's question, Naqvi gave a detailed reply stating that in 2014-15, Rs 3,051 lakh was sanctioned to 96 NGOs and other organisations for free coaching and allied schemes for minority communities. This further increased in 2015-16 with Rs 4,486 lakh sanctioned to 68 NGOs. Under UPA in 2013-14, the amount released to 93 NGOs was Rs 1,946 lakh.
Among states, Andhra Pradesh (including Telengana) was the biggest beneficiary receiving Rs 1,095 lakh in 2014-15 and Rs 160 lakh in 2015-16 against Rs 398 lakh sanctioned in 2013-14. Uttar Pradesh, which has a large concentration of minority communities, received Rs 430 lakh in 2014-15 and Rs 559 lakh in 2015-16. During the UPA tenure, the state was sanctioned Rs 443 lakh but the amount was for 20 NGOs whereas NDA disbursed almost the same amount to 16 NGOs.
The Rs 559.05 lakh in 2015-16 went to 13 such organisations.The minister informed about free coaching and allied schemes, `seekho aur kamaao' and `nai roshni', under minority affairs ministry . After NDA took over, Rs 46 crore and Rs 191 crore were sanctioned under “Seekho aur Kamaao“ in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively . In 201314, Rs 16 crore was sanctioned.Under “Nai Roshni“ government sanctioned Rs 13 crore (2014-15) and 14 crore (2015-16) against Rs 11crore in 2013-14.