From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Definition of Minority
Mains level : Not Much
The Ministry of Minority Affairs has provided some useful information about various initiatives for minorities.
A very interesting fact found in the article is that Minorities are identified by the States and not the Centre!
Defining a minority community
- The Central has notified minority communities at the national level in consultation with various stakeholders under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Act,
- The six communities notified as minority communities under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act, 1992 are Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jains.
- Notification of any community-specific to a State as a minority community within a State comes under the purview of the State
- Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution provide for the protection of interest of minorities which includes linguistic minorities also.
Who are linguistic minorities?
- Linguistic Minorities are group or collectivities of individuals residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language or script of their own.
- The language of the minority group need not be one of the twenty-two languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
- In other words, linguistic minorities at the State level mean any group or groups of people whose mother tongues are different from the principal language of the State, and at the district and taluka/tehsil levels, different from the principal language of the district or taluka/tehsil concerned.
- The linguistic minorities are therefore identified by the respective States/UTs.
- The State/UT wise, broad linguistic profile is available in the 52nd Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities(CLM).
National Commission for Minorities
- The Government has already enacted the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 to constitute a National Commission for Minorities.
- The NCM receives petitions/grievances from the aggrieved persons and the said petitions/grievances being received by Commission.
- They are dealt with by calling for reports from the concerned authorities under the Union and State Governments.
- On receipt of the reports, the Commission makes appropriate recommendations to the respective authorities for redressal of the grievances.