Those of you who would like to do something for the Muslims of India, but find it time-consuming to read the full Sachar Report, here is an easy summary guide to choose
which field you would like to work in. I have adapted it based on the Summary given by Dr. Syed Zafar Mehmood on Milligazette.
On Reservation for Muslims -
The Committee noted that the public opinion in India was divided on reservation.
- Some argued that policies that promote equality must aim at a substantive equal outcome, not merely formal equal or identical treatment. Reservations or a separate quota for Muslims in employment and educational institutions was viewed as a means to achieve this.
- Others felt that reservations could become a thorny issue and have negative repercussions .
- Still others felt that good educational facilities combined with non-discriminatory practices are adequate for Muslims to compete
- Some argued that this facility should only be available to “dalit" Muslims, while others suggested that the entire Community should benefit from it.
- Some said ,Economic criterion was an ideal basis for reservations.
- There were voices that questioned the non-availability of the Schedule Caste quota for Muslims while it was available to the followers of three religions.
On Political Participation of Muslims -
- Cross section of the people was of the conviction that political participation and representation in governance structures are essential to achieve equity.
- The Committee's attention was also drawn to the issue of Muslim concentration constituencies of Assemblies and Parliament declared as reserved for Schedule Caste persons while constituencies with very low Muslim population but high SC concentration remain unreserved.
- Second allegation regarding reservation of constituencies was found to be correct
For the first allegation the Committee did not collect any data.
On Literacy amongst Muslims -
- 25 per cent of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group have either never attended school or have dropped out.
- Drop out rates among Muslims are higher at the level of primary, middle and higher secondary.
- The Committee observed that since artisanship is a dominant activity among Muslims technical training should be provided to even those who may not have completed schooling.
- In premier colleges only one out of 25 under-graduate students and one out of 50 post-graduate students is a Muslim.
- Unemployment rate among Muslim graduates is the highest among all socio-religious communities.
- On Madrasa - The myth broken
- Only 3% of Muslim children among the school going age go to Madarsas.
- There is dearth of facilities for teaching Urdu.
Attitude towards Education, in Muslims
- The Committee found that Muslim parents are not averse to mainstream education or to send their children to affordable Government schools.
Education of Muslim Girls -
- Access to government schools for Muslim children is limited.
- There is non-availability of schools within easy reach for girls at lower levels.
- Absence of girls hostels and female teachers are also impeding factors.
Observations which could help Muslims-
- The schedule castes and schedule tribes have definitely reaped the advantages of targeted government and private action supporting their educational progress.
- The sharper focus on school education combined with more opportunities in higher education for Muslims seems desirable.
- Moreover, skill development initiatives for those who have not completed school education may also be particularly relevant for some sections of Muslims given their occupational structure.
- Bidi workers, tailors and mechanics need to be provided with social safety nets and social security.
- The participation of Muslims in the professional and managerial cadre is low.
- Muslim regular workers are the most vulnerable with no written contract and social security benefits. Muslim regular workers get lower daily earnings in both public and private jobs compared to other socio-religious communities.
- Since a large number of Muslim workers are engaged in self-employment, skill development and credit related initiatives need to be tailored for such groups.
On Banks and Muslims -
- The average amount of bank loan disbursed to the Muslims is 2/3 of the amount disbursed to other minorities. In some cases it is half.
- The Reserve Bank of India¢s efforts to extend banking and credit facilities under the Prime Minister's 15-point programme of 1983 has mainly benefited other minorities marginalizing Muslims. Muslim community is not averse to banking and more improvements can be brought about with specific measures.
- Some banks have identified a number of Muslim concentration areas as negative geographical zones where bank credit and other facilities are not easily provided. Steps should be introduced to specifically direct credit to Muslims, create awareness of various credit schemes and bring transparency in reporting of information.
Muslims and Basic Infrastructure Facilities -
- The concentration of Muslims in states lacking infrastructural facilities implies that a large proportion of the community is without access to basic services.
- In both urban and rural areas, the proportion of Muslim households living in pucca houses is lower than the total population.
- Compared to the Muslim majority areas, the areas inhabiting fewer Muslims had better roads, sewage and drainage and water supply facilities.
- Substantially larger proportion of the Muslim households in urban areas are in the less than Rs.500 expenditure bracket.
Muslims in Government Services-
- The presence of Muslims has been found to be only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS.
- The share of Muslims in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels.
- Muslim community has a representation of only 4.5% in Indian Railways while 98.7% of them are positioned at lower levels.
- Representation of Muslims is very low in the Universities and in Banks. In no state does the representation of Muslims in the government departments match their population share.
- Their share in police constables is only 6%, in health - 4.4%, in transport - 6.5%.
- There is need to ensure a significant presence of Muslims especially in those departments that have mass contact on a day to day basis or are involved in sensitive tasks
Constitutional Rights for the Muslims -
- The Presidential Order of 1950 is inconsistent with Article 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution that guarantee equality of opportunity, freedom of conscience and protect the citizens from discrimination by the State on grounds of religion, caste or creed.
- The monthly Per Capita Expenditure of Muslims is much lower than the national average.
- Benefits of entitlements meant for the backward classes are yet to reach Muslim OBCs. The condition of Muslims in general is also lower than the Hindu-OBCs who have the benefit of reservations.
On Wakf Properties -
- There are about 5 lakh registered Wakfs with 6 lakh acre land and Rs 6,000 crore book value.
- But the gross income from all these properties is only 163 crores i.e. 2.7%.
- The management of Wakf Boards is unsatisfactorily due to inadequate empowerment of the State Wakf Boards and Centreal Wakf Council.
- Encroachment of Wakf properties by the State is a common practice. The attitude of the State Governments and their agencies has resulted in large scale abrogation of the cherished objectives of the Wakfs.
- Failure on the part of the state and statutory bodies entrusted with safeguarding Wakf properties has caused disquiet in the Muslim community.
- An Equal Opportunity Commission should be constituted to look into the grievances of the deprived groups.
- A carefully conceived nomination procedure should be worked out to increase inclusiveness in governance.
- The idea of providing certain incentives to a diversity index should be explored. Incentives can be related to this index so as to ensure equal opportunities to all socio religious communities in the fields of education, governance, private employment and housing.
- Teacher training should be compulsory ensuring in its curriculum the components which introduce the importance of diversity and plurality
- To facilitate admissions to the most backward amongst all the socio religious communities in the regular universities and autonomous colleges, alternate admission criteria need to be evolved.
- Providing hostel facilities at reasonable costs for students from minorities must be taken up on a priority basis.
- The community should be represented on interview panels and Boards.
- Provide financial and other support to initiatives built around occupations where Muslims are concentrated and have growth potential.
- The states should run Urdu medium schools. Work out mechanisms whereby Madarsas can be linked with a higher secondary school board so that students wanting to shift to a regular mainstream education can do so after having passed from a Madarsa.
- The real need is of policy initiatives that improve the participation and share of the Minorities, particularly Muslims in the business of regular commercial banks.
Adapted from Summarised Sachar Reprt on Status of Indian Muslims - by Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood - Milligazette
Dr. Tayyaba Abidin Qidwai