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Sachar Committee Report

An Overview


"All developed countries and most developing ones give appropriate emphasis to looking after the interests of minorities. Thus, in any country, the faith and confidence of the minorities in the functioning of the State in an impartial manner is an acid test of its being a just State. If development processes are misdirected, they may have the opposite effect.


The Muslims, the largest minority community in India, constituting 13.4 per cent of the population, are seriously lagging behind in terms of most of the human development indicators. While the perception of deprivation is widespread among Muslims, there has been no systematic effort since Independence to analyze the condition of religious minorities in the country.


It needs to be emphasized that the perceptions and perspectives discussed here coexist with provisions in the Indian Constitution that provide Indian Muslims their due right as citizens of India. Muslims have as equal an opportunity as is available to other Indian citizens with regard to leading a life of dignity and equality and observance of their religious practices."

(Excerpts from the Sachar Committee Report)



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Concept of Faith in Islam

Importance of Purification


On 9 March 2005, the PMO had issued the Notification for constitution of the High Level Committee for preparation of Report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India. The Terms of Reference are appended to this Report. The Committee was to consolidate, collate and analyze the above information to identify areas of intervention by the Government to address relevant issues relating to the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community. The Committee was unanimous in its view to submit its report by 8 June 2006 when the 15 months time originally allotted was to expire. Thus, on the Committee's recommendation, you very kindly extended the Committee's tenure till 30 November 2006.


State covered:

The states thus covered were Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Delhi, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra. Besides, the Committee also planned to visit Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Lakshadweep. However, it could not visit Tamil Nadu because of flood situation there, Lakshadweep because of inclement weather and Jharkhand because of the ongoing Assembly Budget Session.



Chairperson: Rajindar Sachar



Dr. Abusaleh Shariff



Saiyid Hamid, Dr. T. K. Oommen, M.A. Basith, Dr. Rakesh Basant ,

Dr. Akhtar Majeed


The Overview:

“Tired of presenting memorandums”, many “wanted results”. The “non implementation” of recommendations of several earlier Commissions and Committees has made the Muslim community wary of any new initiative. While not everybody has lost hope, many feel that any change in the attitude of the State requires “commitment and a change in the mindset” observed some. Another common refrain was that the Muslim situation should be looked upon not as a problem of a minority, but as a national concern."

The Committee headed by Justice Rajindar Sachar is the first of its kind to undertake a data-based research on the Muslims in India. It has collected data from various government departments and institutions at the Centre and the State levels for information on employment, development programmes and democratic participation in governance. Besides, Banks, Financial Institutions, Educational Institutions and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) also shared their data. However, the report is based mainly on the analysis of large scale surveys and the Indian Census data. The most prominent among them is the data collected in various surveys by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO). In addition, it has also used the estimates from the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) and the surveys undertaken by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA). The availability of relevant data and information is a critical basis for effective policy making.


The rest of the report is divided into eleven chapters. The idea is to provide an overview of the perceptions of people on aspects such as education, employment, infrastructure and security.


Public Perceptions and Perspectives:

Identity — Visibility in Public Spaces:

One of the major issues around the question of identity for Indian Muslims is about being identified as ‘a Muslim’ in public spaces. Being identified as a Muslim is considered to be problematic for many. Markers of Muslim Identity — the burqa, the purdah, the beard and the topi — while adding to the distinctiveness of Indian Muslims have been a cause of concern for them in the public realm. These markers have very often been a target for ridiculing the community as well as of looking upon them with suspicion. Muslim men donning a beard and a topi are often picked up for interrogation from public spaces like parks, railway stations and markets. Some women who interacted with the Committee informed how in the corporate offices hijab wearing Muslim women were finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs. Muslim women in burqa complain of impolite treatment in the market, in hospitals, in schools, in accessing public facilities such as public transport and so on.

Identity — Housing and Education:

Muslim identity affects everyday living in a variety of ways that ranges from being unable to rent/buy a house to accessing good schools for their children. Buying or renting property in localities of one’s choice is becoming increasingly difficult for Muslims. Apart from the reluctance of owners to rent/sell property to Muslims, several housing societies in “non-Muslim” localities ‘dissuade’ Muslims from locating there.


Women in general are the torchbearers of community identity. So, when community identity is seen to be under siege, it naturally affects women in dramatic ways. It was said that for large number of Muslim women in India today, the only ‘safe’ space (both in terms of physical protection and in terms of protection of identity) is within the boundaries of home and community. Everything beyond the walls of the ghetto is seen as unsafe and hostile — markets, roads, lanes and public transport, schools and hospitals, police stations and government offices. Interestingly though, in many meetings women participants emphasized that given appropriate opportunities to work and get educated, they would ‘manage’ all these issues.


The governmental inaction in bringing to book the perpetrators of communal violence has been a sore point. On the other hand, the police, along with the media, overplay the involvement of Muslims in violent activities and underplay the involvement of other groups or organizations. There is an underlying feeling of injustice in the context of compensation to riot victims. It was also suggested that the amount of compensation fixed by the government post riots has been discriminatory against the Muslims. Besides, there is also delay in giving compensation to the victims, especially when they happen to be Muslims.















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