Reservation and affirmative action: Dalit Muslims must be taken out of the OBC list and incorporated in the Scheduled Caste list

032Reproduced below is the chapter on “Summary and Recommendations” of the Final Report: Post Sachar Evaluation Committee, presented to Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, on September 29, 2014:

A start has been made in addressing the development deficit of the Muslim minorities during the past few decades, particularly after the acceptance of the Justice Sachar Committee Report (JSCR). And yet, serious bottlenecks remain since (a) the scale of government interventions have not been big enough to make a dent due to the large number of the marginalized, the depth of their economic social and educational deprivations; (b) the design and implementation structures of the programmes have often not targeted the minority settlements and people directly and effectively; (c) the institutional structures designed to implement these initiatives have not been adequate and strong in terms of personnel, mandate, training, and support; (d) the demand side has been weak – civil society and NGOs have not been able to come up or appropriately incentivized to work in partnership with government towards actively fostering confidence and leadership among minority citizens at the local level; and (e) not much attention has been given for strengthening community institutions, particularly of women, youth, working for poor minority communities, to enable them to reach out to government programmes and for promoting the vision of inclusive India with the ideals of diversity and equal opportunity for all. To these ends, this Committee makes its recommendations both at the level of policy and in the context of specific programmes to promote the welfare of India’s Muslim minority.

A: Towards a new equity paradigm:

Diversity Index, Equal Opportunity, Anti-Discrimination legislation

  1. The Sachar Committee had recommended implementation of Diversity Index-based incentive system covering all citizens to promote equality and diversity in all spheres of social and economic development. An expert committee constituted for this purpose recommended the constitution of a Diversity Commission to oversee the incentivisation of diversity both in public and private domain, particularly in education institutions, employment establishments and housing societies.
  2. This Committee recommends that the ambit of the Diversity index should include spheres of education, employment, housing, healthcare, access to development schemes and various other sectors; and seek to provide remedies.
  3. This Committee, in addition, recommends formulation and enactment of a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation to prohibit discrimination based on disability, sex, caste, religion and other criteria. There is a need for such a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes multiple, sometimes overlapping, grounds of identity along which discrimination takes place; that include both State and non-state spheres in terms of discriminatory acts; that protects against discrimination in a wide range of fields. The legislation must provide a statutory definition of discrimination that specifies a legal threshold for recognizing the many ways the latter manifests itself and provides legally mandated civil remedies.
  4. These recommendations represent a paradigm shift in India’s approach to equality. Moving beyond reservations, they use diversity promotion and anti-discrimination to achieve social justice. Reservations are only one of several tools to address widespread, systemic discrimination in a society. Diversity index and anti-discrimination legislation together can help build a more equitable society and a deeper and more widespread notion of equality that go beyond group-specific quotas and accompanying quota politics. Yet, anti-discrimination legislation does not in any way seek to derail the existing right to reservation, and can run parallel to existing reservations. It will, however, be a positive paradigm shift in how India as a democracy seeks to institutionalise equality for a wide spectrum of its population.
  5. This Committee is of the view that this equity framework (promoting diversity and antidiscrimination) must be used to promote inclusion of all deprived social groups and communities and not be restricted to any one social group alone.
  6. The Committee further recommends extensive application of diversity index in resource allocation, implementation of policies and programmes of the government and functioning of the institutions. This would help initiating a new process and trend in the country, enabling the idea of diversity taking root in the minds of the decision makers at all levels. The Committee proposes extending the incentive framework for promoting diversity to all public and private sector institutions and building public awareness on this. This would go a long way in taking the country to a scenario when the manifestation of diversity becomes a matter of celebration rather than a cause for social turmoil and political anxiety.

minority1B. Equity in Employment and Wellbeing

The relative employment situation of SRCs (socio-religious categories) has not undergone much change since the adoption of the JSCR. The decline in the share of Muslims in rural-urban migration, as noted in the nineties, has continued, reflecting an exclusionary urbanization in which cities and towns have become less welcoming for weaker and vulnerable social groups. Percentage of increase in share of urban population in the case of Muslims is low, especially in smaller urban centers, reflecting social factors and discrimination constraining their mobility. Wide differentials exist in the quality of employment wherein Muslims are found in a disadvantageous situation with reference to the type and sectors of employment. The lower percentage of Muslim households participating in public employment programme, compared to Hindu or Christian households, suggests that such programmes are unlikely to address the core problem of the Muslims – the most deprived minority in the labour market. More importantly, these would not improve the quality of employment, which is the major issue for the Muslims and not an increase in work participation rate.

  1. This Committee recommends efforts, including active outreach, recruitment and scholarships, by both government and private universities to increase participation of Muslims in higher education, as well as increased access to high quality professional and technical education to help Muslim youth move to better quality employment. The government must incentivize both public and private sector companies to undertake large scale and strong affirmative action initiatives in skill trainings and internship programmes leading to employment for Muslim youth.
  2. As regards the high unemployment among the youth, especially among urban males and rural females, it would also be necessary to develop an entrepreneurial environment and create formal support structures as well as social and employment networks that can assist unemployed Muslim youth who relocate themselves from homes and want to take up the jobs in manufacturing and modern service sectors. The government and private sector can create such support structures and a stipend system during training period, through help centres and employment exchanges, not only in large metros but in small towns and cities where the problem of Muslim livelihood is most acute.
  3. Over the recent years, it appears that more of urban Muslim households have shifted to self-employment as a major source of household income. Access to credit facilities and organization of training facilities for skill development must be linked with the employment generation programmes at micro level, particularly targeted to the Muslim concentration districts.
  4. The share of minorities in government employment remains low – less than half of the share of their total population in the country – despite all efforts. This must be corrected by government-led planned and targeted recruitment drives in a time bound manner.

C. Access to Housing and Basic Amenities

Housing conditions particularly in urban areas for different socio-religious groups suggest that Muslims households live in poorer conditions than other groups. It is also commonly observed that settlements, both rural and urban, with high proportions of Muslim minority residents, lack most basic services, required for dignified survival. These deprivations are similar to the condition of SC and ST settlements as well, and they arise from strong structural bias and discrimination, and will not end unless this is recognised and directly addressed. It is therefore recommended that

  1. Governments umbrella schemes of the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) New 15 point programme (PP) and the Multi-Sector Development Plan (MSDP) should be used with a clear timebound implementation target of assuring all basic services and amenities to minority habitations.
  2. All such settlements, rural and urban, should have a minimum of the following basic services: Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS); clean drinking water, individual sanitation; sewerage and drainage; pucca roads; electrification; access to a primary health centre (PHC); primary and upper primary schools. This assurance of basic services should be demand driven such that the appropriate government would be obliged to provide these services, on demand from any settlement, within a specified time frame, using funds available from MSDP and PM’s new 15 PP.
  3. Efforts to incentivize and promote integrated housing and neighborhoods is the most durable way to improve living conditions for all citizens, because divergence in living conditions will persist as long as different communities occupy differentiated spaces in the urban geography.

minority2D. Access to Health

The natural advantage that Muslims, largely due to internal cultural norms, have demonstrated in terms of initial health outcomes (better sex ratio, better life expectancy at birth, better child survival for both girls and boys) is reversed due to unequal access to health care and amenities. The Committee makes the following recommendations:

  1. Targeting and monitoring of health interventions under National Health Mission (NHM) by socio-religious community and other background characteristics would be extremely important for addressing the problems differential access to health care facilities and utilization. Muslims lag behind even the scheduled castes (SCs) in terms of access to amenities, and this problem needs to be addressed, irrespective of their better child health outcomes, due to community characteristics.
  2. Inadequacy of health care infrastructure in most Muslim areas, as highlighted in the Sachar Committee Report, has not been addressed despite initiating specific schemes. Fixing specific targets through need based assessment and appropriate monitoring can remedy the situation. Health seeking behaviour, in terms of outreach by Muslim families to hospitals and health care providers, must be encouraged and the complaints of discrimination should be dealt with through grievance redress mechanisms.
  3. Deficiencies in municipal services that have a direct bearing on health need to be addressed with a sense of urgency. Strengthening of the community-based facilities should also be attempted to increase access for the Muslim women.
  4. The relatively poor penetration of health insurance cover among Muslims should be corrected immediately. Regular monitoring of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) beneficiaries at the national level can correct this error as it is easy to track individual beneficiaries in real time.
  5. Health related data must be gathered for all children in Muslim dominated blocks from birth tothe time of entry to schools at age 5 and annually in subsequent years to detect malnutrition and make age-specific correctives.
  6. Vaccination rates in Muslim dominated districts should be carefully monitored. An evaluation team at the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) should identify gaps, assess reasons and suggest immediate remedies.
  7. Special drives should be taken up for recruitments of ASHA, Anganwadi workers and ANMS in the Muslim dominated blocks.
  8. Given that there are only 3% of registered Unani doctors in Medical councils (46,000 out of 14 lakhs), government must make efforts and resource allocation to increase the number of Unani doctors, given the promotion of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). It is noteworthy that there are only 38 Unani colleges out of a total of 723 (225 for Ayurveda; 182 for Homeopathy; 262 colleges for modern medicine),

E. Access to Education

The level of literacy among Muslims was lower than Hindus and yet gender disparity was lower among the former. At all levels of education, the outcome indicators for the Muslims were closer to the scheduled tribe (ST) community with the lowest attainment. The enrolment of Muslim children in primary school was fairly high but came down significantly at higher levels of education. This implies that the Muslim community, irrespective of gender and rural-urban residence, is less likely to attain Secondary and Higher Secondary level of education. The OBC Muslims were the most deprived at all levels of education. The proportionate improvements in educational attainment during 2004-05 and 2011-12 do not alter this pattern. The Muslim community also had far lesser number of graduates and technically educated persons. The Committee thus makes the following recommendations:

(a) Higher Education, Professional Education, Technical Education

  1. While retaining and improving access to basic education, the focus in the coming decades needs to shift strongly to increasing access for Muslim youth to higher education, technical skills, professional education, and access to the English language which is the currency for decent employment.
  2. In this context, the higher education scholarship for minority students pursuing M Phil, and PhD by the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) at approximately 750 new scholarships per year is negligible. If the overall thrust of the educational vision is to provide both, basic literacy for the poor among Muslims and simultaneously create skilled professionals and intellectual thought leaders, the approach must change dramatically. Private and public universities must also come forward to recruit and provide scholarships to Muslim minority students to pursue higher learning.
  3. Vocational training is critical given the degree of unemployment and the trend towards self-employment among Muslim youth. However, the ITI model has become outmoded in its programmes and finds few takers among the target population. The remodeled ITI programme, as in Gujarat, should be introduced in the Muslim and SC/ST majority areas.
  4. The new skill development and placement programmes under the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through the private sector should be encouraged and set up in regions with large concentration of Muslim and SC/ST population. Incentives required to allow private sector to do so must also be devised.

minority3(b) Secondary and Higher Secondary Education

The percentage of enrolment at the secondary school level and above among Muslim population is low compared to Hindus and other SRCs, indicating a higher degree of drop out at this level. In order to correct this, efforts must be made to ensure retention, particularly of girl students. At this level of education, immediate employability is a key concern of the families. Also, given that financial constraints are cited as a common reason for such drop out, the Committee recommends:

  1. Scholarship amounts for secondary and higher secondary schooling should be raised in order to meet all related Costs.
  2. Vocational training courses should be reintroduced in schools where these do not exist.
  3. Students undertaking vocational skill training in school should be given a special stipend to take care of the material requirements of such programmes.
  4. In the globalized and digitalized world, English language has become an essential mode of learning. Special classes for students to learn English reading, writing and comprehension skill need to be organized within the schooling system.

(c) Literacy, Primary and Middle School

Within socio-religious groups, SC/ST among Hindus and OBCs among Muslim have the lowest levels of literacy. Non-OBC Muslim boys aged 6-14 years category in urban areas report the highest percentage figure for persons who never attended a school and also currently not attending schools. It is possible that they are more likely to work to enhance family incomes. It would be important to keep children in school through the following measures:

  1. Rigorously implement and monitor the Mid-day Meal Scheme in schools in Muslim dominated areas with food items that are in the normal diet of these communities.
  2. Improve teacher quality to encourage children to attend and for parents to see and advantage in keeping the children in school.
  3. Improve activities in schools to keep the children interested in attending the classes. rv. Raise the scholarship amount available to children in class 1 to 6.

(d) Education for OBC Muslims

The Committee has noted the poor outcomes for OBC Muslim boys and girls in all the indicators of educational development. Special attention needs to be paid to this disadvantaged group among the Muslims, including provisioning of scholarships for OBC Muslim boys and girls and vocational training that are inclusive for girls and gender sensitive, going beyond the traditional vocational programmes.

F. Schemes and Programmes: Structure, Implementation & Monitoring

(a) Prime Ministers New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities

  1. It must be noted that most of the development schemes/programmes under the 15 Point Programme (15 PP) are general schemes to which all economically deprived citizens are entitled. There are programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, which, with the passing of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, have become universal entitlement schemes. Only some schemes, largely run by the MoMA, are targeted at minorities. Hence, for the most part, the 15 PP is not an additional resource allocation; it is only an exercise in equitable distribution. The poor impact of the 15 PP does, therefore, calls for urgent course correction.
  2. Contrary to the intent of the programme, we find that the 15 PP is reduced often to a mere accounting exercise. Central Ministries & State Departments simply book a proportion of their expenditure (15%) under the minority (15 PP) head. This accounting approach to 15 PP means – minorities pay for a proportion of existing schemes, except for the schemes of Ministry of Minority Affairs & some education schemes of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). There is no specific need-based planning under specific schemes for minorities nor is there an attempt to identify development gaps in basic services in minority localities. Our evaluation suggests that the current post-facto accounting approach to the 15 PP has failed to deliver the outcomes and that this must be replaced by a robust proactive planning approach to secure genuine, inclusive growth.
  3. This Committee recommends that in the central ministries covered by the PM’s 15 PP, a dedicated nodal unit may be created with the responsibility of preparing annual plans for reaching minorities under designated 15 PP programmes and infrastructure schemes, and monitor their subsequent implementation. An existing autonomous body may be strengthened with adequate professional expertise and provided with supporting manpower to undertake independent evaluation of 15 PP schemes of the central ministries and to give feedback on a regular basis. It may also recommend schemes, which have the potential of addressing the development needs of minorities to the concerned central ministries for inclusion in the 15 PP.
  4. This committee recommends expansion of the 15 PP to include other schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), and the recent Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, towards financial inclusion.
  5. The unit of targeting should be village habitation or urban ward, and data should be generated at this disaggregative level for monitoring. This is critical for the success of 15 PP. Information on achievements under 15 PP should also be disaggregated to ensure that minority settlements and targeted beneficiaries are getting their due. This must define the framework of reporting the achievements. Guidelines must mandate a specific number of Social Audits to be undertaken during each 6 monthly monitoring cycle. Community/social audit conductors must have access to village ward annual targets and outlays. These must also be placed on websites for full transparency.

minority4(b) Implementation and monitoring of other programmes

  1. This Committee recommends a strengthening of the MoMA, which is the nodal Ministry entrusted with overseeing programmes and policies for the welfare of India’s minorities. There is a need for enhancement of resources and personnel across the board in order to enable the MoMA to do justice to its mandate. There is also a need for MoMA to create a visible and accessible institutional presence in the States, particularly in States with a large minority population. The Government may decide how best to operationalize this presence at the level of States or in minority concentration districts.
  2. Most of the schemes under PM’s New 15 PP and MSDP have small allocations that need to be increased keeping in mind the depth and spread of deprivation among minorities and specifically Muslims. The new pilot schemes should be reviewed in a time-bound manner and upscaled.
  3. It is suggested that akin to the allocations made under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP), where budgetary outlays are made in proportion to the share of SC and ST population in the country, there is need to initiate a discussion on whether such budgetary strategies should be considered for the minorities as well.
  4. At the all-India level, the share of physical and financial targets/achievements in MCDs, in most of the schemes have been less than their share of population which reveal a need for better planning and targeting. A more systematic need-based assessment of the development deficits in MCDs for determination of the targets under different schemes should take place.
  5. There is a need to strengthen the coordination between Centre, State and District, and Panchayat level agencies responsible for planning and implementing the programmes related to minorities. The District and State Level Committees need to meet regularly and ensure coordination across various implementing departments.
  6. The scholarship schemes have been popular among minorities. The numbers of scholarships have, however, been less than the demand and the amount is low. There is a need to make the number of scholarships demand driven as is the case with other vulnerable groups. The implementation problems such as delays in disbursement need to be urgently addressed.
  7. It will be important that coaching centres for the minority students are set up where the students can also get residential hostel facilities and their precious times are not lost in commuting to these centres. Further, the coaching centres must be subject to rigorous evaluation including their success ratio prior to disbursement of funds to them.
  8. MoMA reports that the share of priority sector lending (PSL) to minorities has increased to 16.09% in 2013-14 of total PSL by banks in the country. However, Muslims could get only 44.31%, while Sikh had 24.58%, Christian 21.87%, Buddhists 2.06%, Parsis 2.23% and Jains 4.96% in total PSL to minorities in the same year. This shows that, except Muslims and Buddhists, the two most deprived minorities, other minorities are able to corner proper share in PSL. This distortion needs to be corrected at the earliest.
  9. There is a need to develop a social audit scheme that invites NGOs across the country through grant-in-aid mechanisms, to undertake Social Audits on an on-going regular basis on the schemes and programmes for the minorities. Government may specify that funds for this will be made available from the administrative costs of monitoring and evaluation from the MSDP and PMs 15 PP. Social audit for the implemented schemes should be made mandatory.

(c) Empowerment of Muslim Women

Without a broad range of empowerment initiatives, Muslim women will be unable to address their vulnerability and work towards empowerment. Unless critical masses of Muslim women are mobile and able to independently access the state machinery, they will not be able to seek redress for the development deficit facing them.

  1. A Leadership Development Scheme for Minority Women developed by women’s activists and proposed in the 11″ five year plan could not be rolled out due to design flaws. It was rolled out subsequently in the 12″ five-year plan period, however, with an extremely small budgetary allocation. This allocation needs to be substantially enhanced and strengthened so that Muslim minority women can be helped, trained and empowered to exercise their citizenship to the fullest extent, both for their own rights and the rights of their community.
  2. Muslim women must have access to institutional and policy level decision-making. There is a need for representation of Muslim women in all institutions intended to promote their welfare, namely, the National and State-level Women’s Commissions, National and State Minority Commissions and Minority Financial Corporations, among others.
  3. Programmes for the empowerment of women like Mahila Samakhya must be given directives to work in Muslim areas with Muslim women, with specified targets. All government microcredit and self-help group (SHG) programmes should stipulate a special focus on Muslim women and earmark funds accordingly. In addition to making education accessible to Muslim girls, there is a need to make a widerange of technical and higher education opportunities, including training centers, available to them, with a direct link to employment. For Muslim female home-based workers, there is a need for policies that facilitate access to low interest credit, to markets, and training for manufacturing high value products. Loans for women in home-based industries must have single-window facilitation – without cumbersome paper work, which works as a deterrent to Muslim women, many of whom lack basic literacy skills.

G. Institutional Restructuring and Piloting new ideas

A sustained course correction will require continual engagement with new ideas and new thinking that go beyond existing schemes and programmes for the welfare of minorities; to pilot new interventions that may be more responsive to the needs on the ground, with a view to up-scaling best practices. The MAEF is a valuable existing institution that can provide such a space.

minority5Maulana Azad Educational Foundation (MAEF)

  1. This Committee recommends an independent evaluation and institutional restructuring of the MAEF with a view to revamping and transforming the Foundation as outlined in the 12″ plan. This Committee recommends converting MAEF into an innovative hub of excellence to undertake ‘educational’ pilot initiatives towards minority empowerment within the broad framework of ending social exclusion and promoting integration. The current grant abilities of the MAEF are not best suited to make a significant impact on educational infrastructure, but may make an impact in terms of high quality, innovative pilot schemes for minority development.
  2. The MAEF, mandated to work in the area of education, may undertake their pilot initiatives through NGO grant-in-aid mechanisms, with flexible guidelines, in a broad range of educational arenas, training for empowerment and leadership development of women and youth, capacity building for good governance and education for civic empowerment and advocacy. MAEF has the potential to turn into an incubator institution and hub of innovation and excellence. The government should undertake an expert evaluation and comprehensive institutional and organizational restructuring of MAEF towards this end.

H. Strengthening Local Capacities on the Ground

As the Government seeks to respond to the condition of minorities, to empower them and make them equal partners in India’s growth trajectory, there is a critical need for push and pull factors to work in tandem. In other words, the minority community will also have to reach out to systems of governance to make the system responsive. In order for government schemes and programmes to work successfully on the ground, active participation of an alert citizenry is essential. Cutting across silos of sector-wise intervention (such as education, livelihood, health, or employment), we must seek to empower the community as a whole through developing transformative local leadership. Civil society organizations and NGOs have a critical role to play in strengthening local communities and creating transformative leadership. One of the positive impacts of the Sachar Committee was that civil society groups and NGOs were alerted to the need to undertake development work with the Muslim minorities. There is a need to further encourage and incentivize civil society groups to ensure that the promise of development reaches Muslim minorities on the ground. The Twelfth Plan document has proposed a role for facilitators’ and young leadership which can be utilized for this purpose:

“An important concern vis-a-vis the Muslim community is the perception of discrimination and alienation. This needs to be appropriately addressed in the Twelfth Plan. Innovative steps are needed, such as expanding facilitators in Muslim concentration villages and towns to act as interfaces between the community and the State institutions. Youth leadership programmes should also be initiated to strengthen this process.”

On educational empowerment, the 12th plan document mentions that representatives of civil society, where required, should be encouraged to act as facilitators. In this context several new schemes proposed in the 12th plan such as the Pilot Scheme for Training for Young Leaders among Minorities and Pilot Scheme for Urban Youth Support line should be rolled out by the government as soon as possible.

I. Reservations and Affirmative action

  1. The Dalit Muslims must be taken out of the OBC list and incorporated in the SC list. It should be possible to identify these Muslim caste groups based on the principle recommended by National Commission For Religious And Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) that all groups and classes whose counterparts among the Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists, are included in the Central or State Scheduled Castes lists should be brought under the Scheduled Caste net.
  2. Many of the Muslim artisanal groups can be included in the Most Backward sub-category within OBC along with other similarly placed caste groups from other religions, based on criteria of socio-economic backwardness. The ashraf Muslims may be accommodated in the OBC category or the Most Backward subcategory based on the necessary tests of social backwardness. The benefits of Affirmative Action must be extended only to the most backward sub-category, identified rigorously. Given their levels of deprivation, there is a need to apply all norms and procedures prescribed for SC/ST students related to government freeships, scholarships and waiving offees to them in toto.
  3. There is a need to identify certain left out deprived Muslim castes into the OBC category and include all the communities identified as OBC in the States into the central government OBC list.

J. Waqf related issues

  1. Exemption of Waqf properties from certain enactments is required to serve the greater philanthropic purpose of waqf properties though legal amendments.
  2. Waqf lands, inaccessible to the Muslims, or land surrounded illegally or encroached upon, should be made accessible to them through law. The unused Qabristans may be developed with the help of appropriate agencies.
  3. The lists of waqf properties must be annually reviewed and their conditions assessed in a joint meeting of senior officers of the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and the Central Waqf Council.
  4. The  National WAQF Development Corporation (NAWADCO) could work towards creating a level playing field with other Muslim welfare affairs organisations such as the Tabung Haji of Malaysia for attracting larger investments.
  5. In order to perform the expanded role, the Central Waqf Council and State Waqf Boards need to be strengthened by the government. It should also consider reviewing and amending the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act in the context of the changing needs of the society. Permission may be given to use Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds for development of Waqf properties.

K. Statistical Database as a key pillar of governance

The present Committee found that the data base required for evaluating the access and reach of Government programmes do not yet exist and had to rely on National Sample Survey (NSS) for many of its findings that could help generate only final outcome indicators. Unfortunately, however, most of the key social sector programmes do not identify the beneficiaries by their socio-religious categories. Currently only limited data are placed in the National Data Bank (NDB) portal of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, mostly tabulated data from Census and NSS.

  1. This Committee therefore recommends that all Government agencies should be directed to incorporate socio-religious categorization of beneficiaries in their information system designed for government programmes and other data collection exercises and provides such data to the NDB on a regular basis. The NDB should be constituted as a separate autonomous entity with adequate funding within the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which is the nodal Ministry for maintaining NDB.
  2. All surveys collecting data on health issues should collect and publish information by religion and other background characteristics. Health surveys should cover the burden of diseases by religion and other background characteristics.
  3. All Muslim concentration districts (MCDs) should be part of Annual Health Surveys so that the impact of health and other schemes targeted at them could be tracked unambiguously.
  4. All Government agencies should be directed to incorporate socio-religious categorization of beneficiaries in their information system, designed for government programmes and other data collection exercises and provide such data to the NDB on a regular basis.

L. Security for Development

Development for the Muslim minority must be built on a bedrock of a sense of security. The rising incidents of communal polarization and violence must be addressed firmly and urgently, both at the level of the Centre and the States through legally available means, and by upholding the stated national political commitment to bringing an end to the manufactured polarization. This would be the most critical input in bringing the nation closer to realizing the Constitutional promises of equality, equity and development for all.

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