From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Various initiatives for Minorities
Mains level : Minority welfare
The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has informed about various initiatives for minorities.
A brief of the schemes/programmers being implemented by the Ministry for the educational/economic empowerment of Minority students/candidates are as under:
- Scholarship Schemes: Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship.
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme: It provides financial assistance to students from notified minority communities and whose annual income is below Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum from all sources, to pursue higher education such as M.Phil and Ph.D.
- Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship: It provides scholarship for meritorious girls belonging to notified minority communities studying in Classes IX to XII.
- Naya Savera: It is a free coaching scheme which aims to enhance skills and knowledge of students and candidates from notified minority to get employment in Government Sector/ PSU, jobs in private sector, and admission in reputed institutions in technical and professional courses at UG and PG levels.
- Nai Udaan: Support for notified minority community students, on clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC, State Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff Selection Commission (SSC) etc.
- Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn): It is a skill development initiative for minorities and aims to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon their qualification, present economic trends and market potential, which can earn them employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self-employment.
- Upgrading the Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD): A mission has been launched under scheme to give an effective platform to minority artisans and culinary experts from across the country to showcase and market their finest handicraft and exquisitely crafted products through “Hunar Haats” organized by the Ministry.
- Nai Manzil: A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities.
- Gharib Nawaz Employment Training Programme: It provides for short-term job oriented skill development courses to youths belonging to minority communities.
- National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) Loan Scheme: It provide concessional loans for self-employment and income-generating activities for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities.
Others: Equal Opportunity Commission
- Among several recommendations, the Sachar Committee opined for an Equal Opportunity Commission to ensure the upliftment of deprived Muslims in the country.
- It was formed during the first United Progressive Alliance government in 2006 to recommend policy measures for the upliftment of linguistic and religious minorities.
- It stormed the country when it stated that the condition of Muslims in some states are worse than Dalits.
Back2Basics: National Commission for Minorities (NCM)
- The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
- Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India .
- Original notification of 1993 was for five religious communities; Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Muslims.
Commission has the following functions:
- Evaluate the progress of the development of Minorities under the Union and States.
- Monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures.
- Make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of Minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- Look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities.
- Cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against Minorities and recommend measures for their removal.
- Conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of Minorities.
- Suggest appropriate measures in respect of any Minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- Make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to Minorities and in particular the difficulties confronted by them.
- Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
The Commission has the following powers:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath.
- Requiring the discovery and production of any document.
- Receiving evidence on affidavit.
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.