National Commission for Minorities
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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 as minority communities by the Union Government.
The NCM adheres to the UN Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that "“States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.” 
Functions and powers
The 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 Governments 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.
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.
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.
Composition of Commission
The current commission consists of:
- Chairperson: Shri Naseem Ahmad(4.3.2014 -Present )
- Vice Chairperson: Vacant
- Members :
- Dr. Ajaib Singh(06-09-2012 -Present )
- Sh. Tsering Namgyal Shanoo- (31.5.2013- Present )
- Prof. Farida Abdulla Khan-(23.10.13-Present )
- Ms Mabel Rebello-(2.12.13-Present)
- Shri Praveen Davar-(27-1-14-Present)
- Shri Dadi E. Mistry-(10.3.2014-Present)
Sachar Committee Report
On March 9, 2005 the Prime Minister issued a Notification for the constitution of a High Level Committee to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India. Recommendations contained in the Report of the High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India headed by Justice Rajindar Sachar (Retd.) :-
- Need for Transparency, Monitoring and Data Availability- Create a National Data Bank (NDB) where all relevant data for various socio-religious categories are maintained
- Enhancing the Legal Basis for Providing Equal Opportunities Set up an Equal Opportunity Commission to look into grievances of deprived groups like minorities.
- Shared Spaces: Need to Enhance Diversity:- The idea of providing certain incentives to a 'diversity index' should be explored.
- Education:- a process of evaluating the content of the school text books needs to be initiated to purge them of explicit and implicit content that may impart inappropriate social values, especially religious intolerance. Need to ensure that all children in the age group 0-14 have access to free and high
- quality education
- High quality Government schools should be set up in all areas of Muslim concentration. Exclusive schools for girls should be set up, particularly for the 9-12 standards. This would facilitate higher participation of Muslim girls in school education. In co-education schools more women teachers need to be appointed.
- Provide primary education in Urdu in areas where Urdu speaking population is concentrated.
- Mechanisms to link madarsas with higher secondary school board.
- Recognise degrees from madarsas for eligibility in Defence Services, Civil Services and Banking examinations.
- Increase employment share of Muslims, particularly where there is great deal of public dealing.
- Enhancing Participation in Governance:- appropriate state level laws can be enacted to ensure minority
- representation in local bodies
- Create a nomination procedure to increase participation of minorities in public bodies.
- Establish a delimitation procedure that does not reserve constituencies with high minority population for SCs.
- Enhancing Access to Credit and Government Programmes:-Provide financial and other support to initiatives built around occupations where Muslims are concentrated and that have growth potential
- Improve participation and share of minorities, particularly Muslims, in business of regularcommercial banks
- Improving Employment Opportunities and Conditions
The Committee suggested that policies should “sharply focus on inclusive development and ‘mainstreaming’ of the Community while respecting diversity.”
- Official website of the NCM
- Handbook of the commission
- G. Mahajan Negotiating Cultural Diversity and Minority Rights in India
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