Sachar Committee

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The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed in 2005 by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was commissioned to prepare a report on the latest social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India. The committee was headed by the former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar, including other six members.[1][2][3][4][5] The committee prepared a report of 403 pages, and presented in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Indian Parliament on 30 November 2006 (20 months after obtaining the terms of reference from the PMO).[6]

The committee had highlighted and presented its suggestions and solutions to include and mainstream Indian Muslims. The online report is available from the Indian Government website.[7] The report is first of its kind revealing the backwardness of Indian Muslims, according to Sachar Committee report some of the major concerns are:

  • The status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[8]
  • The overall percentage of Muslims in bureaucracy in India is just 2.5% whereas Muslims constitute above 14% of Indian population.[9]

To ensure equity and equality of opportunities to Indian Muslims in residential, work and educational sector, the Committee had proposed multiple suggestions to be adopted, with a suitable mechanisms.[10]

There is a lot of discussions and debates goes on the Sachar Committee Report.[11] There are follow-up actions taken based on Committee findings like then the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram action funding for National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC).

[12]

Composition[edit]

The committee was headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar, and include other six members.[citation needed]

  • Sayyid Hamid
  • Dr. T.K. Oomen
  • M.A. Basith
  • Dr. Akhtar Majeed
  • Dr. Abu Saleh Shariff
  • Dr. Rakesh Basant
  • Dr. Mohammad Alamgir Ansari
  • Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood

Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood was the civil servant appointed by the PM as Officer on Special Duty to the Committee. During the committee's interaction with women's groups, some of them seriously articulated a grievance that it did not have any woman member.

Report[edit]

The complete Sachar committee report is available for download online.

Methodology[edit]

The Census 2001 data has been used to understand the demographic profile, infrastructure availability and educational achievements at various levels. Data from the National Sample Surveys (NSSO 55th and 61st Rounds) have been used to analyze issues relating to employment, education, consumption patterns and levels of poverty. Banking data was received from different sources such as the Reserve Bank of India, National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development, Small Industry Development Bank of India, National Minority Development and Finance Corporation and National Backward Classes and Finance Development Corporation. Corroborative data was also obtained from government commissions and organisations such as National Backward Classes Commission, State Backward Classes Commission and National Council of Educational Research and Training. Finally data from sources such as ministries, departments, public sector undertakings, universities and colleges were used in preparing this report.

Criticism[edit]

Indian media expert[13] Dasu Krishnamoorti has criticized the way the media has handled the report. He criticizes them saying that "Positive journalism means projecting the Muslims as us and not them".[14] Sunil Jain in an article in rediff says "The problem with all such data, however, is that you need to "normalise" it for any meaningful conclusions to be made. Sachar does this only partially",[15] and that rather than basing its results on the entire population of Muslims, the Report should only have considered those Muslims with a college degree.

In addition, the demands made by the Sachar Committee to provide preferential treatment to Muslims in the Indian Army to bring about a greater representation have been severely criticized by members of the Indian Armed Forces as well as BJP political party. Retired Colonel Anil Athale of the Indian Army comments that it is vital that the Indian Armed forces remain secular and not give preference to anybody irrespective of religion, and that the Sachar Committee seeks to undermine that legacy.[1] However, Dr. Sachar replied to this criticism saying that it was an uncalled for attempt to communalise a non-issue.

The Sachar commission findings were later alleged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be manipulated for electoral purposes.[16]

There was widespread disagreement over the methodology and conclusions of the Sachar Committee. A K Dubey, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said that the “Sachar Committee has indulged in a statistical manipulation that needs to be understood. The approach it adopted to bring to light social and political truths were muddled” [17]

In November 2013, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court that the Rajinder Sachar Committee was unconstitutional, and that its "target was to help Muslims only". It has strongly criticized the manner in which the PMO set up the Sachar panel in 2005 to survey the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, while ignoring other religious minorities. The affidavit was filed in response to the Centre's stand that the scheme was valid and that the Modi government was to blame for the "deteriorating condition" of Muslims in Gujarat. [18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]