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Improvement of Economic Conditions of Muslims

The erstwhile Planning Commission used to estimate poverty from the Large Sample Surveys on Household Consumer Expenditure carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. These surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis. The latest data of Large Sample Survey on Household Consumer Expenditure has been collected by NSSO in its 68th round conducted in 2011-12. In the process of collection of consumption expenditure data from households, NSSO records the religious affiliation of the household. But the NSSO consumer expenditure data is not stratified with respect to religious groups of population. As a result, Planning Commission has not estimated the poverty ratios for Muslims and the people from other minority communities living below poverty line in 2011-12.

However, a High Level Committee, constituted under the Chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sachar (Sachar Committee), in its report submitted to the Government in the year 2006 has indicated inter alia, that in the year 2004-05, 38.4 % of Muslims in urban areas and 26.9 % in rural areas live below the poverty level, which is higher than the other minorities.

The Sachar Committee Report has inter alia, observed that there is low educational achievement among the Muslim community, lack of educational facilities in the minority concentration areas, relatively higher engagement of Muslims in self employment in the unorganized sector and low participation in regular salaried jobs, which contribute to their relative backwardness.

The focus of the Government is to improve the educational and skill level of minority communities for their gainful employment leading to improvement in the overall condition of minorities. For welfare of minority communities, Ministry of Minority Affairs implements following programmes/ schemes:

Schemes for educational empowerment Ministry implements Pre-matric, Post-matric, Merit-cum-Means based scholarships and Maulana Azad National Fellowship. Under these schemes, 30% seats are earmarked for girl students. In addition, Maulana Azad Education Foundation implements a scheme exclusively for scholarship to girls belonging to minority communities. Assistance for free coaching is also provided to students for competitive examinations. A new scheme Padho Pardesh has been launched for Interest subsidy on educational loans for minority students for their overseas studies. Another Scheme Nai Udaan has also been started for giving financial support to minority candidates clearing preliminary exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and State Public Service Commissions (SPSCs). Further, to strengthen educational infrastructure, construction of schools, additional classrooms and toilets are taken up under Multi-sectoral Development Programme.

Scheme for economic empowerment – National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) provides for concessional loans to minorities. Ministry has also launched Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn) for placement linked skill development of minorities in the year 2013-14. The scheme envisages a minimum of 75% employment of trained minority youth and out of them 50% in organized sector. A new Scheme Upgradation of Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development (USTTAD) has also been approved for implementation. The scheme aims at capacity building of minority artists and craftsmen including lesser known artists/ craftsmen.

Scheme for area development Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) launched in 2008-09, is the flagship programme of the Ministry to address the development deficits by creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities in identified minority concentration areas. Digital literacy under Cybergram as one of the components of the scheme is also being implemented.

Scheme for Women empowerment – Ministry started Nai Roshni, an exclusive Leadership Development Programme for Minority Women during 2012-13. The scheme aims to empower and instill confidence among minority women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, Banks and other institutions.

This was stated by Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs in reply to question in Rajya Sabha today.


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