The Rajinder Sachar Committee was commissioned in 2005 by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prepare a report on the latest social, economic, and educational conditions of the Muslim community of India. The committee was headed by former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar, as well as six other members. The committee prepared a 403 page report and presented it to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, on 30 November 2006, 20 months after obtaining the terms of reference from the Prime Minister's Office. This report highlighted issues facing the Muslim community and their representation in Indian public life, but it has faced criticism for some of its recommendations and methodology.
The committee was composed of seven members, four of whom were Muslim, and was headed by former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar. The other members of the committee were Sayyid Hamid, T.K. Oomen, M.A. Basith, Akhtar Majeed, Abu Saleh Shariff, and Rakesh Basant. The Prime Minister also appointed Syed Zafar Mahmood to serve as Officer on Special Duty to the Committee.
The committee did not include any female members, although it did meet with women's groups and activists.
The Sachar Committee highlighted and presented its suggestions on how to remove impediments preventing Indian Muslims from fully participating in the economic, political, and social mainstream of Indian life. The report was the first of its kind to reveal the "backwardness" (a term used in Indian academic and legal discourse for historically dispossessed or economically vulnerable communities, not meant to be pejorative) of Indian Muslims. An issue highlighted was that while Muslims constitute 14% of the Indian population, they only comprise 2.5% of the Indian bureaucracy. The Sachar Committee concluded that the conditions facing Indian Muslims was below that of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Sachar Committee Report brought the issue of Muslim Indian inequality to national attention, sparking a discussion that is still ongoing. The Committee recommended setting up an Equal Opportunity Commission to provide a legal mechanism to address discrimination complaints, including in matters such as housing. In response to the Committee's findings, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram proposed an increase to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation's (NMDFC) budget, citing new duties and expanded outreach that the institution would take on to implement the Committee's recommendations.
The Sachar Committee used 2001 census data to understand the demographic profile, infrastructure availability, and educational achievements of the population. It also used data from the National Sample Surveys (NSSO 55th and 61st Rounds) 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 Agriculture and Rural Development, Small Industries Development Bank of India, National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation, and the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation. Corroborative data was also obtained from government commissions and organisations such as the National Commission for Backward Classes, the State Backward Classes Commission, and the National Council of Educational Research and Training. Finally, data from other sources, including ministries, departments, public sector undertakings, universities, and colleges were used in preparing this report.
Sunil Jain criticized the Sachar Committee for basing its results on the entire Muslim population, instead of just Muslims with college degrees. He argues that that this influenced the results and that "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."
In addition, the Sachar Committee's recommendation to increase Muslim representation in the Indian Army by providing preferential admission has been severely criticized by members of the Indian Armed Forces as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party. Retired Colonel Anil Athale argued that the Indian Armed Forces should remain secular and not give preference to any religious group, and that the Sachar Committee's report would undermine that legacy. Sachar responded by calling these criticisms an uncalled-for attempt to communalise a non-issue. The BJP also alleged that the Committee's finding had been manipulated for electoral purposes.
There was widespread disagreement over the methodology and conclusions of the Sachar Committee. A K Dubey of the 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.”
In November 2013, the Gujarat government contended before the Supreme Court that the Rajinder Sachar Committee was "unconstitutional," and that it only sought to help Muslims. It has strongly criticized the manner in which the PMO set up the Sachar Committee in 2005 to survey the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, while "ignoring" other religious minorities. This 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. 
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