Minorities Development in India


Minorities Development in IndiaM. S.  Ansari**,

India is a democratic country where people of all community live in peace and harmony. All major religions of the world are found in India. As such, Hindus are the majority community and the minority community includes  Muslims,  Sikhs,  ChristiansBuddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as notified under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

Minorities are playing a very vital role in India’s political and social upliftment, contributing significantly in the development of our country. Governments from time to time have formulated programmes and schemes for socio-economic upliftment of minorities.

For this purpose Government of India created the Ministry of Minority Affairs, which aims at empowering the minority communities and creating an enabling environment for strengthening the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious character of our nation. It also aims at improving the socio-economic conditions of the minority communities through affirmative action and inclusive development, so that every citizen has equal opportunity to participate actively in building a vibrant nation.

To facilitate an equitable share for minority communities in education, employment, economic activities and to ensure their upliftment, Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities was announced in June, 2006. It provides programme specific interventions with definite goals which are to be achieved in a time bound manner. The objectives of the programme are: (a) Enhancing opportunities for education; (b) Ensuring an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment through existing and new schemes, enhanced credit support for self-employment and recruitment to State and Central Government jobs; (c) Improving the conditions of living of minorities by ensuring an appropriate share for them in infrastructure development schemes; and (d) Prevention and control of communal disharmony and violence.

An important aim of the programme has been to ensure that the benefits of various government schemes for the underprivileged reach the disadvantaged sections of the minority communities. In order to ensure that the benefits of these schemes flow equitably to the minorities, the programme envisages location of a certain proportion of development projects in minority concentration areas. The schemes included in the New 15-Point Programme are as under;


  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme by providing services through Anganwadi Centres {Ministry of Women & Child Development}.
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme (KGBV) {Ministry of Human Resources Development}
  • Aajeevika{Ministry of Rural Development}
  • Swarnajayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY) {Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation}
  • Upgradation of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) {Ministry of Labour & Employment}
  • Bank credit under priority sector lending {Department of Financial Services}
  • Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) {Ministry of Rural Development}


Also acting on the Sachar Committee report, the Government has initiated several measures as:


  • Universalization of access to quality education at secondary stage called Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
  • One model college each would be set up in 374 educationally backward districts (EBDs) of the country. Of 374 EBDs, 67 are among identified minority concentration districts.
  • Preference to be given by the University Grants Commission for provision of girls’ hostels in universities and colleges in the areas where there is concentration of minorities especially Muslims.
  • Area Intensive & Madarsa Modernisation Programme has been revised and bifurcated into two schemes. (a) Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsas (SPQEM). It was attractive provision for better teachers’ salary, increased assistance for books, teaching aids and computers and introduction of vocational subjects, etc and the other scheme which provides financial assistance for Infrastructure Development of Private aided/unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI).
  • Academies for professional development of Urdu medium teachers have been set up at three Central Universities namely, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU), New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU), Hyderabad.


Also, the Government has launched the Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) in 2008-09. The programme aims at improving the socio-economic and basic amenity facilities for improving the quality of life of the people and reducing imbalances in the Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs). Identified ‘development deficits’ are addressed through a district specific plan for provision of better infrastructure for school and secondary education, sanitation, pucca housing, drinking water and electricity supply, besides beneficiary oriented schemes for creating income generating activities. Absolutely critical infrastructure linkages like connecting roads, basic health infrastructure, ICDS centers, skill development and marketing facilities required for improving living conditions and income generating activities and catalyzing the growth process are eligible for inclusion in the plan.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs is also providing several scholarships to the minority communities to empower them educationally and socially across the country. These include: (a) The Pre-matric scholarship scheme. (b) Post-matric scholarship scheme. (c) The Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme. (d) The Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF). (e) The Free Coaching and Allied Scheme. (f) Leadership Development of Minority Women scheme. (g) Grant In Aid Scheme to State Channelising agencies of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation.

In this way the Government of India is making every effort for upliftment of minorities so that they can stand with others side by side in all spheres of life and live a dignified life. 


*Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC.


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