Recommendation of Sachar Committee and Nomad Gujjars
By. Dr. Javaid Rahi
The Government of India has set up various commissions from time to time for identification of various weaker communities so that data and other necessary information could be collected in respect of their educational, social, economic and political status and on the basis of such datas and resultant recommendations, such downtrodden communities could be provided avenues for development and progress. A few of such commissions which have played vital and historical role include Gajendragadkar Commission, the Sikri Commission, the Wazir Commission (1969), the Anand Commission (1976) and the Mandal Commission which covered the entire country.
In a landmark decision, Prime Minister Office issued a notification on March 9, 2005 in order to access the Educational, Economic and Social status of Muslims in India, thereunder setting up a high power committee with the aim and objective to recommend the measures for upliftment of economic, educational and social conditions of Muslims. Justice Rajandhar Sachchar was to head this prestigious committee whileas 6 other members are include Saiyid Hamid, Dr.T.K.Oommen, M.A.Basith, Dr.Rakesh Basant, Dr.Akhtar Majeed and Dr.Abusaleh Shariff , Member-Secretary. The committee, after marathons efforts and going into details submitted its report to Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in One Year, Nine Months and Eleven Days, This report is being discussed in Parliament these days and has raised many eyebrows among the political circles of India.
The report compiled on the Social, Educational and Economic Status of Muslim of the state is first of its kind in which certain matters have been discussed in open. This is also important because it has been recommended in the report to create a data bank on the name of Muslims also so that the latest information and datas with regard to Muslims and other religiouse groups are collected, there and this will help in formulating future policies for Muslims at Naitonal and local levels.
The Muslims of India, in general have welcomed this report, saying that at last the government has realized the problems and the grievances of Muslims. But at the same time have declared it that it has left out many important issues including the "Rehabilitation" of "Nomad Muslims" in India, especially the Nomadic Gujjars living in the Himalayan Belt of Northern India, and other dozens of tribes, living in pathetic condition in India. Recently the Muslim Gujjars of J&K and other States , which constitute a substantial population of Nomads , appealed to Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh to intervene and incorporate necessary amendments on SACHER COMMITTEE REPORT to include the problems and difficulties being faced by Nomadic Muslims Tribes of India , as this important sector has been left unaddressed and unattended.
They appealed that the Sachar Committee Reports mainly focused its attention only on the issues of "settled Muslim" including to OBC's, BPL ,MBC, other lower casts, and ignored the Muslim nomadic Tribes of India including Scheduled Tribe Gujjars of J&K and Himachal Pardesh. , which needs to be amended.
It is surprising that the Sachar Committee Report comprising of over 404 Pages does not incorporate even the word or term of " Nomadic Muslims"or "Muslim Tribes" therefore no such step has been suggested in its recommendations for their "Rehabilitation" and other upliftment, as their problems are totally different and worst then the other settled Muslim Communities of India. The report is also silent about the legitimate rights, Mobile System of Education, Right of Franchise for Nomad Muslims, recognition tribal system of Justice popular in Muslim Tribals and the Socio Economic safeguard to lakhs of Nomadic tribes in Muslim Community including Gujjar Muslims wandering in Himalayan belt of Northern India.
The Gujjars which constitute the largest "tribe" among Muslims in India , and are living in a very pathetic condition , for centuries together in all the Northren states but the Sachar Committee Report is silent about them.. while the page 225 article 6.2 mentions Schedule Tribes of Lakshwadeep islands which are only sixty thousand in number and the rest Muslim tribes which are in millions have totally being neglected.
The Nomadic Gujjars are pursuing for amendments in Sachar Committee Report when it has been released for public in New Delhi, Their representative have deliberations with the members of Sachar Committee at Jammu and appraised them of the factual position demands and suggestions but this important aspect has totally been left unaddressed.
The committee which has submitted it report regarding the all the Setteld Muslims in India include the recommendations at 2 levels: -
One, General Policy Initiatives that cut across different aspects of socioeconomic and educational development; Two, Specific Policy Measures that deal with particular issues and/or dimensions :-
- Create a National Data Bank (NDB) (for Muslims also) where all pertinent data pertaining to the socio-economic and educational status of different Socio-Religious Communities (SRCs) is maintained. Such data should be computerized and made available on the internet. (Pg. 238).
- Set up an autonomous Assessment and Monitoring Authority (AMA) to evaluate the extent of development benefits which accrue to different Social Religious Communities through various programmes. (Pg. 239).
- Address the widespread perception of discrimination among the Muslim community. Undertake research on the basis of the NDB to examine if discrimination exists. (Pg. 239).
- ï€ Make legal provisions to eliminate instances of discrimination established through studies.(Pg. 239).
- Challenge violations of the constitutional rights of minorities (guaranteed under the provisions the Fundamental Rights clauses and the special provisions for protecting the rights of minorities in respect of their religion, language and culture) in the courts. ï‚·ï€ (Pg. 239).
- ï€ Set up an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) to look into grievances about denial of equal opportunity or bias or discrimination by the deprived groups. An example of such a policy tool is the UK Race Relations Act, 1976. Existing institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) can at best play a limited role in dealing with many complaints arising on a day-to-day basis against non-State agencies. (Pg. 240).
- Because of the logic of numbers in a democratic polity, based on the one-man-one-vote principle, minorities in India often lack effective agency and political importance. A carefully conceived 'nomination' procedure should be worked out to increase the effective participation of minorities in local governance. (Pg. 239).
- ï€ End the existing system of delimitation of constituencies whereby areas with Muslim concentration are declared as reserved constituencies for SCs. This effectively disempowers Muslims. Evolve a more rational procedure for delimitation of constituencies. (Pg. 241).
- ï€ Incentives for shared spaces: There is urgent need for a variety of initiatives to encourage and reward diversity in living, educational and work spaces. While religious diversity couldbe one core factor, in the field of education and employment, gender should also be afactor. (Pg. 242).
- Evolve a 'Diversity Index' and link government incentives to greater diversity through:
â€" Incentives in the form of larger grants to those educational institutions that have higher diversity and are able to sustain it. These incentives can apply to both colleges and universities, both in the public and the private sector.
â€" Incentives to private sector to encourage diversity in the work force. While such initiatives should be part of the corporate social responsibility, some affirmative action may help initiate this process.
â€" Incentives to builders for housing complexes that have more 'diverse'
resident populations to promote 'composite living spaces' of SRCs.
Encourage the building of parks,
â€" libraries and even study spaces in mixed localities and across neighborhoods so that children belonging to different SRCs can interact and at the same time pursue studies. These can be used by the community or civil society to organize remedial classes, reading rooms and other
constructive initiatives. (Pg. 242). Sensitise state officials and other functionaries about the need to respect and sustain diversity in the development and implementation of programmes or in the provision of services, and the problems associated with social exclusion. (Pg. 243).
1. Free and compulsory education for Muslims up to the age of 14 is the responsibility of the State. And the fulfillment of this obligation is critical for the improvements in the educational conditions of Muslims, in fact, of all socio-economically deprived children. (Pg. 243).
2. Remove bias from school textbooks: A process of evaluating the content of the school text books needs to be initiated to purge them of explicit and implicit content that may impart inappropriate social values, especially religious intolerance. (Pg. 244).
3. Establish common study rooms: It is absolutely necessary to create local
community study centres in poor localities for students so that they can spend a few hours to concentrate on their studies. This is an area in which the government, NGOs
and the corporate sector can co-operate. (Pg. 244).
4. Set up High Quality Government Schools in all areas of Muslim concentration. (Pg. 244).
5. Set up Exclusive Schools for Girls should, particularly for the 9-12 standardsâ€¦ Appoint more women teachers in co-education schools. (Pg. 244).
6. Availability of primary education in one's mother tongue is constitutionally . Provide primary education in Urdu in areas where Urdu speaking population is concentrated. (Pg. 244).
7. Technical Education and Training for Non-matriculates:
i. The pre-entry qualification for admission to ITIs should be reduced to Class VIII. The scope of ITI courses should be expanded to focus on emerging market needs including those of the retail sector. (Pg. 245).
ii. Skill development initiatives of ITIs and polytechnics should focus on sectors which have high growth potential and in which the Muslim population is concentrated. These training initiatives should also focus on areas where the minority population concentrated. (Pg. 245).
iii. The eligibility for such programmes should also be extended to the Madarsa educated children,as they are ineligible to get trained under many current formal technical education streams. (pg.245).
i) Long term strategy: The best long term measure to correct this deficit is to increase school completion rates among the Muslims. (Pg. 245).
Medium and short term strategy: i. The University Grants Commission (UGC) should evolve a system of rewarding with additional funds schools with a diverse student population. This principle should also apply to minority institutions. To ensure that minority institutions remain accessible to the poor from within the community, UGC should reward encourage schools with low fees and merit-cum-means scholarships (partly funded from the additional UGC grants). (Pg. 246).
ii. Evolve an alternate admission criteria to facilitate admissions to the 'most backward' amongst all the SRCs in the regular universities and autonomous colleges. The alternate criteria proposed is to allot 60% marks on merit, with the remaining 40% for backwardness (house-hold income, 13%,backward district, 13%, backward class, 14%) .(Pg. 246).
: Providing hostel facilities at reasonable costs for students from minorities must be taken up on a priority basis. While this is required for all minority students, such facilities for girls in cities of all sizes are particularly desirable. The taluka headquarters and educational centers would be the best locations for such facilities. Another possibility is to create boarding houses for backward SRCs in taluka headquarters. (Pg. 246).
i. Teacher training should compulsorily include in its curriculum components which introduce the importance of diversity/ plurality within the country and sensitize teachers towards the needs and aspirations of Muslims and other marginalized communities. The implementation of this should be monitored by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE). (Pg. 247).
ii. Given the current education levels, the possibility of more Muslims opting for B.Ed course is limited. But more Muslims may be able to participate as para-teachers. An effort should be made to enhance participation of Muslims in this cadre as an interim measure. (Pg. 247).
â€" Often Urdu schools have teachers who have no knowledge of Urdu. This problem is partly compounded by the fact that posts of Urdu teachers are reserved for the SCs/STs and such candidates are not available. This anomaly needs to be corrected urgently. (Pg. 247).
â€" High quality Urdu medium schools can be opened in those parts of the country wherever there is demand for them. Ensure that good quality text books are available in Urdu language and the products of these schools are employable.
â€" Urdu should be introduced as an optional subject in all government and government-aided schools in states having a substantial Urdu speaking population. (Pg. 247).
â€" 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. (Pg. 248).
â€" Provision of "equivalence" to Madarsa certificates/degrees for subsequent admissions into institutions of higher level of education. (Pg. 248).
â€" Recognition of the degrees from Madarsas for eligibility in competitive examinations such as the Civil Services, Banks, Defense Services and other such examinations. This should, however, remain within the existing framework of these competitive examinations. (Pg. 248).
â€" Review and revamp the scheme before expanding the programme of modernization of
Madarsas. (Pg. 248)
Lack of access to credit is a particularly serious problem for Muslims as a significantly larger proportion of workers are engaged in self-employment, especially home-based work. Therefore, non-availability of credit can have far-reaching implications for the socio-economic and educational status of the Community.
1. Information regarding the religious background of customers and clients should be maintained by the banks and made available to the RBI. RBI in turn can provide this information to others under the Right to Information Act. . (Pg. 249).
2. Promote and enhance access to Muslims in Priority Sector Advances. Any shortfall in
achievement of targeted amount in minority specific programmes should be parked with NMDFC,NABARD and SIDBI and specific programmes should be funded with this amount. (Pg. 249).
3. Give incentives to banks to open more branches in Muslim concentration areas.
The RBI's periodic reports on Priority Sector Advances should also contain data on 'Sanctions or Disbursements to Minorities' in the reporting period, along with the 'amount outstanding'. (Pg. 250).
4. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) should set aside a fund for training for minorities under its Entrepreneurial Development Programme. Such programmes should not only aim to improve skills of artisans in traditional occupations but also reequip them with modern skills required to face the adverse effects of globalization in their area of artisanship. (Pg. 250).
5. There is a widespread perception that the participation of Muslims in the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other micro-credit programmes is very limited. National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) should lay down a policy to enhance the participation of minorities in its micro-credit schemes. (Pg. 250).
6. Detailed analysis of Muslim participation in government employment and
other programmes has shown very limited participation in both. It is desirable to have experts drawn from the community on relevant interview panels and Boards. This practice is already in vogue in the case of SCs/STs. (Pg. 250).
7. All 58 districts with more than 25 % Muslim population should be brought
under the Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme for minorities welfare. A special assistance package for the development of these districts should be launched. The same principle might be applied to units taluka/block with similar concentration of Muslims. (Pg. 250).
8. There should be transparency in information about minorities in all activities.
It should be made mandatory to publish/furnish information in a prescribed format once in three months and also to post the same on the website of the departments and state governments. (Pg. 250).
9. The review of Government programmes suggests that Muslims have not benefited much from them. Detailed data should be collected regularly on the participation of different SRCs in government programmes, both at the state and the Central level. (Pg. 251).
10. Though there are many Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and Central Plan Schemes (CPS) available for the welfare of SCs, STs and OBCs, such schemes for the welfare of minorities are rare. And the available schemes are inadequately funded. Overall, targeting backward districts and clusters where special artisanal groups exist, will ensure a sharp reduction in disparities of access and attainment. (Pg. 251).
1. Provide financial and other support to initiatives built around occupations where Muslims are concentrated and that have growth potential. These initiatives can take the form of interventions where existing skills of the workers are combined with knowledge of modern management practices, new technology, and emerging market needs. (Pg. 251).
2. Locate ITIs, polytechnics and other institutions that provide skill training to non-matriculates in areas/clusters which have large concentrations of Muslim population. (Pg. 252).
3. Given the precarious conditions of the self-employed persons in the informal sector, especially the home-based workers, it is desirable to have a mandated social security system for such workers. Casual workers in the informal sector should also be able to participate in such schemes.
4. A more transparent recruitment system will help to build public confidence in the system. It is not being suggested that inclusion of minorities in selection committees will improve the chances that Muslims will get selected, it can surely improve the confidence of Muslim applicants during the selection process. (Pg. 252).
5. It is imperative to increase the employment share of Muslims particularly in departments where there is a great deal of public dealing: the teachers, health workers, police personnel, bank employees etc.
(Pg. 252).u003c/i> u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div>nu003cdiv styleu003d"margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-align:justify">u003cb>u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:11pt;color:black">6. Encourage employers to endorse their organizations as 'Equal Opportunity Institutions' so that applicants from all SRCs may apply. A time bound effort in this direction is desirable. nu003ci>(Pg. 252).u003c/i>u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div>nu003cdiv styleu003d"margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-align:justify">u003cb>u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:11pt;color:black">7. When Muslims appear for the prescribed tests and interviews their success rate is appreciable. This applies both to the public and private sector jobs. Introduce simple measures like undertaking a visible recruitment process in areas and districts with high percentage of Muslims, job advertisements in Urdu and vernacular newspapers and other media, or simple messages like 'women, minority, and backward class candidates are encouraged to apply' to help create an atmosphere of trust and confidence. nu003ci>(Pg. 252).u003c/i>u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div>nu003cdiv styleu003d"margin:0in 0in 0p