Thursday, 12 December 2013

Muslim Minorities

Muslim Minorities
Replying to a question about recent Survey Report of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad and recent NSSO Report show that muslim minorities are lagging behind when compared to other communities in different socio-economic and educational sectors, Shri K. Rahman Khan the Union Minister of Minority Affairs made the statement in Lok Sabha today. 
The statement says there is a working paper series of the IIM Ahmedabad on “Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends” by Shri Rakesh Basant, Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. The opinion(s), view(s) and conclusion(s) expressed in the working paper series are those of the authors and not that of IIM-AhmedabadThe author in his working paper has, inter alia, observed the following:
-Participation of Muslims is relatively low in the education space but has improved in recent years. The situation in the urban areas is, however, poor especially for Muslim males;

-The participation of Muslims in higher education is particularly poor but once they cross the threshold of school education and other factors that affect participation in higher education, the deficits for Muslims decline significantly;

-Household endowments alongwith location play a critical role in determining participation of Muslims in education. There is some evidence to suggest that the community does not fully appreciate the rewards of education even as returns to education are high.

- Muslims are predominantly engaged in self-employment and their participation as regular worker especially in the tertiary sector (that has grown in recent years) in urban areas is low as compared to other socio religious communities (SRCs).
As per the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) Report on employment and unemployment situation among major religious groups in India (2009-10), inter alia, the following has been observed:
- In 2009-10, the average monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) for Muslims was Rs.980/- as compared to all India average MPCE of Rs.1128/-.
- Among Muslims of age 15 years and above, the literacy rates for rural males, rural females, urban males and urban females were 69%, 47%, 81% and 65% respectively.

-          In urban areas, proportion of workers engaged in self employment was the highest for Muslims. Regular employment among Muslims were lowest both in urban areas and rural areas amongst major religious groups.
- Unemployment rate for Muslims have declined in 2009-10 as compared to 2004-05 in both rural    and urban areas. Among minorities, the unemployment rate in rural areas was lowest for   Muslims. In urban areas unemployment rate was lowest for Christians followed by Muslims.
The Government has taken various steps to improve socio-economic and educational status of minority communities in the country through Prime Minister’s New 15 PointProgramme for the Welfare of Minorities, which is an overarching programme covering various schemes/ initiatives of different Ministries/ Departments by either earmarking 15% of targets/ outlays for the minorities or specific monitoring of flow of benefits/ funds to minorities or areas with substantial minority population. The programme is being implemented with the objectives of enhancing opportunities for education of minorities, ensuring equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment, improving the condition of living of minorities and preventing and controlling the communal disharmony. The steps taken to improve socio-economic and educational status of minorities are as under:
-Education: For the educational empowerment of minorities, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing three scholarship schemes, namely, Pre-matric, Post-matric and Merit-cum-means Based Scholarship Schemes, covering students from Class I to Ph. D. In addition, the Ministry is implementing Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme for students of M. Phil. and Ph. D. Also, Free Coaching and Allied Scheme, Support for Students clearing Preliminary exams and Schemes of MaulanaAzad Education Foundation based on the corpus fund granted by the Government, have been implemented for the benefit of minority communities. Besides, under Sarva SikshaAbhiyan, being implemented by Ministry of Human Resource Development, educational infrastructure has been created by way of opening and constructing new Primary/ Upper Primary schools in Minority Concentration Areas and Residential schools for minority girls under the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs).

-Skill Development: For improving employability and economic empowerment of minorities, various initiatives have been taken for the skill development of minority communities. Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing ‘Seekho aur Kamao’ – Scheme for Skill Development of Minorities, Schemes of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) for extending credit with the help of equity share capital released by the Government and Scheme for Grant-in-aid to StateChannelising Agencies of NMDFC. Besides, 60 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) located in the minority concentration areas are also upgraded into Centre of Excellence.

-Area Development: The Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) for creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities in the areas with substantial minority population. Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation are also facilitating the flow of funds to towns and cities, having a substantial concentration of minority population, under the different components of Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) namely, Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG), Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP).

- Access to Credit: Credit and Term Loan under Priority Sector Lending scheme of Ministry of Finance and scheme of Micro-credit & Term Loan of NMDFC are provided to Minorities to support their economic activities.

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