Excerpts from the section on minorities in the chapter “Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Other Tribal Groups and Minorities” in the recently-released NITI Aayog report, “Strategy for New India @ 75”:
Minorities Objective: To bridge the gap between minority communities and the rest of the population with respect to various socio-economic and human development indicators through affirmative action.
Current Situation: As per Census 2011, of the total population of 121 crore, Hindus constitute 79.8 per cent, Muslims 14.2 per cent, Christians 2.3 per cent, Sikhs 1.7 per cent, Buddhists 0.7 per cent and Jains 0.4 per cent. While improvements have been made on several fronts, religious minorities lag behind on certain indicators pertaining to educational attainment, gender equality and workforce participation.
Disaggregated data from a survey highlighted that the highest proportion of out of schoolchildren in the country belong to Muslim communities (4.43 per cent), followed by Hindus (2.73 per cent), Christians (1.52 per cent) and others (1.26 per cent).
Data from the 68th Round of the National Sample Survey revealed that the proportion of households in urban India with casual labour and self-employment as the dominant income source was the highest among Muslims at 15 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. The Workforce Participation Rate among Muslims, Sikhs and Jains was lower than the national average according to Census 2011.
- Data on development indicators for minorities is not generated at regular intervals.
- Some minority communities are also included under SCs, STs and OBCs, which could result in the duplication of schemes for the same set of beneficiaries.
- Awareness levels and demand for programmes being implemented for the benefit of minorities are limited.
- Institutional restructuring
- Vest the primary responsibility for a number of schemes currently being implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) with the relevant line ministries. MoMA should be involved with the finalization of physical and financial targets by the line ministries.
- Increase the emphasis of the MoMA on data collection and analysis, identifying gap areas, online monitoring of the PM’s 15-Point Programme, evaluating the impact of various schemes and popularizing schemes in local languages using social media.
- Enhance pre-matric scholarships, post-matric scholarships, merit-cum-means scholarships, Maulana Azad National Fellowships and National Overseas Scholarships with a 15 per cent increase annually from 2019-20.
- Increase the number of scholarships for girls from minority communities by 10 per cent every year.
- Ensure that girls who pass out from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas can continue their education after completing Class 8.
- Provide access to public transport in the form of buses and cycles or vouchers for meeting private transport costs to raise enrolment rates among girls from vulnerable communities.
- Train at least 100,000 minority women under the Nai Roshni scheme every year. 3. Economic empowerment.
- Identify the poorest among the minority communities through the Socio-Economic Caste Census data for proper targeting of various schemes.
- By 2022-23, provide integrated education and livelihood programmes to 100,000 beneficiaries under the Nai Manzil programme.
- Train at least 350,000 beneficiaries during the 5-year period under Seekho Aur Kamao.
- Achieve a 15 per cent increase per annum in loans to vulnerable sections through the use of alternative channels like regional rural banks.
- Put out job advertisements in Urdu and local language newspapers as well as through other locally appropriate channels.
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