The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India was a high level committee for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India. It prepared a 403-page report that was tabled in Parliament on 30 November 2006 – 20 months after obtaining the terms of reference from the PMO. It has come-up with theq report with suggestions and solutions to include and mainstream Indian Muslims. It is the first of its kind report and it suggests adoption of suitable mechanisms to ensure equity and equality of opportunity to Muslims in residential, work and educational spaces. According to Sachar Committee report the status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. There is a lot of discussions and debates goes on the Sachar Committee Report. There are follow-up actions taken based on Committee findings like the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram action funding for National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC).
National Commission for Minorities Statutory Recommendation
The Sachar Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India has produced a compendium of authentic information required by the Government for planning, formulating and implementing specific interventions, policies and programmes to address issues relating to the backwardness of the community. The National Commission for Minorities has a statutory responsibility, under Section 9(1) (g) of the NCM Act, 1992, to evaluate the progress of the development of the minorities and to suggest appropriate measures, to be taken by the Government, in Respect of any community. Pursuant to this the Commission is of the view that amongst the recommendations of the Report, the following pertaining to (1) education (2) economy and employment opportunities (3) access to bank credit (4) access to physical and social infrastructure and government programmes (5) public employment and recruitment procedures, require to be given the highest priority amongst the priorities being set by the Government for implementing the Recommendations of the Report:
Access to education is critical to benefiting from emerging opportunities that go with economic growth. The right to education is a fundamental right; the Report establishes the extent of educational deprivation experienced by the Muslim community. Muslims are at a double disadvantage with low levels of education combined with low quality education. Their deprivation increases many-folds as the level of education rises. 25 per cent of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group have either never attended school or have dropped out. At the level of higher education, less than 4 percent Muslims are graduates or diploma holders as against the national average of 7 percent for the age group 20 and above. At the post-graduate level, only one out of twenty students is a Muslim.
The improvements in educational patterns of SCs and STs suggest that they have benefited from targeted government programmes supporting their educational progress. This underscores the importance of affirmative action. While the nature of affirmative action that is required needs to be assessed, at a minimum the government may consider making available more schools in minority-concentration areas, instituting scholarships and making available free textbooks, and transport facilities etc for the minority Muslims.
Emphasis on providing a minimum level of school education by the State is necessary. Regular affordable school education that is available to any other child in India should be made available to Muslims in all localities. Primary education in mother tongue is equally important.
Access to government schools for Muslim children is limited. This is particularly so in regard to girls for whom the non-availability...