Jayanth Jacob, Indian Express, Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SACHAR PANEL INITIAL FINDINGS ‘States not doing enough for social, economic uplift of Muslims’

NEW DELHI, APRIL 18:The initial findings of the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee, headed by Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar, looking into the ‘‘social, economic and education status of the Muslim community in the country’’ show how poorly the state governments have fared in implementing measures for the uplift of the community.


The committee has made some scathing observations about the BJP-ruled government. It found that the state government was not doing enough for the welfare, education and health care needs of the community.

• The much publicised 15-point programme for the minorities are non-existent and no financial and physical targets are fixed in implementing these programmes.

• The state government has few programmes for the minorities and the outlays of these programmes have been abysmally low.

• Even the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Shiksha Abhiyan do not appear to have entered the Muslim-dominated areas.

• Sanitation and sewerage facilities are next to nothing in poorer Muslim areas.

• There was only one primary school with ‘‘improper building’’ and a few teachers in an exclusive Muslim locality of over 1.2 lakh population on the outskirts of Jaipur.

When contacted, Madan Dilawar, social welfare minister, said: ‘‘Muslims are our brothers and we all are children of Mother India. So why is there this demand for everything separate for Muslims?

They can study in the same schools where the children of other communities study. Every community has to follow certain procedures like furnishing guarantees in getting bank loans and there cannot be any exception to a particular community.’’

UTTAR PRADESH: The committee that visited the state from August 4 to 7, 2005 found ‘‘all pervasive presence of an inferiority complex and sense of insecurity among the Muslims’’ that it has already brought to the notice of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

It observed:

• Adverse impact of economic liberalisation on the traditional occupations of Muslims—brass and wood work, lock industry in Aligarh, power looms etc.

• Urgent intervention of the UP government needed in preventing ‘‘the disturbing practice of child marriages, which is the cause for high mortality rate among the Muslims in the state.’’

• UP is ‘‘serene and peaceful and there is communal harmony and amity,’’ despite UP being a centre ‘‘of many a controversy relating to the demolition of Babri Masjid and Ayodhya issue.’’

When contacted, Yaqoob Qureshi, UP Minister for Haj and Minority Welfare, said: ‘‘Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is known for his determination to improve the lots of the Muslims and other weaker sections of the society. But we get little help from the UPA government which swears by secularism. We have appraised HRD Minister Arjun Singh of the immense problem the madarsa teachers are facing and the need to upgrade the curriculum in madarsas. But sadly, no response. After the Sachar committee brought to the fore the problem faced by the Muslims engaged in traditional occupations, we are chalking out a plan to help them.’’

KARNATAKA: The committee called for ‘‘government efforts in enhancing the Muslim participation in panchayat raj institutions and the civic and municipal bodies.’’

• The panel showed concern over the complaints of Muslims not getting loans from the nationalised banks despite the recommendation from the Minority Development Corporation.

• The committee also expressed concern over the ‘‘number of recent occurrences that highlight inter-community tensions in the coastal areas of the state and the district of Chickmagalur.’’

When contacted, Minister for Minority Welfare Iqbal Ansari said: ‘‘We are aware of the problem Muslims facing in getting loans from the nationalised banks. Since they do not come under the purview of the state government, we are roping in cooperative banks to give loans to Muslim farmers and entrepreneurs. We are also working out a special package to re-skill the Muslims who are losing out on their traditional occupations.’’

ANDHRA PRADESH: This is perhaps a good news story. While praising certain community initiatives, the committee underscored the need for ‘‘an inclusive development of the community by providing them accessibility to education at primary, elementary and higher levels and private and pubic sector employment.’’

Md Fareeduddin, minister for minority welfare, said: ‘‘We are paying all attention to the development of the Muslim community. Also we are encouraging community initiatives like training Muslim girls and boys for the BPO industry.’’

KERALA: The state has thrown some statistical puzzles at committee. Though Muslims constituted 24.7 per cent of the state’s population, their share in government jobs was just 9.88 per cent. The SC/STs who constituted 10.95 per cent of the population had a job share of 13.3 per cent.

The forward communities, whose share in population was 23.5 per cent, has 40 per cent of the government jobs.

The state authorities did not want to make any comments citing election code of conduct.

The final report of the committee is expected to be submitted in June this year.

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