Blaming directly the UPA government for the alienation of Muslims, Rakesh Basant, a former member of the Sachar Committee and a
professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad
says it’s not the Sachar report but the Congress led UPA
government’s policies which have become a roadblock in the overall
mainstreaming of Muslims in India.
“Making the Ministry of Minority Affairs the nodal agency for
implementing the Sachar Committee recommendations was a grave
error, and has probably gotten in the way of mainstreaming this
process,” writes Basant in his article published on the website of
the Centre for Advanced Study of India (CASI) University of
Almost after five years after the report was submitted, Basant
criticizes the government for narrowing down the recommendations
of Sachar for petty political gains.
According to him by recommending
formation of the Equal Opportunities
Commission (EOC) the Sachar Committee advocated general programs with better inclusion of
all under-privileged groups including Muslims rather than
Muslim-specific programs. They in turn could have facilitated the
mainstreaming of Muslims and other marginalized groups.
“The UPA has not only picked up recommendations in isolation, but
has also highlighted the community-specific programs and its
implementation in its election manifesto and other
communications…Apparently, the mainstreaming measures recommended
by the Sachar Committee had much less political utility than
promises of community-specific benefits and programs,” adds Basant.
Instead the government recasted them into community specific
programmes and emphasized too much on minor recommendations like
those related to Urdu and Madarsa education when it was reported
that less than four percent of Muslim children go to Madarsas.
“Typically, community specific recommendations, which were quite
minor in the overall framework of the report, are being focused
upon and actually enhanced. As a result, the main recommendations,
which were not community specific, are getting sidelined and even
being re-cast as Muslim-specific,” adds Basant.
According to Basant, if the government is serious about preventing
the ghettoization of the community then the implementation task of
the Sachar recommendations should be given to line departments
instead of the Minorities Affairs Ministry (MMA).
“The policy-making and implementation task should lie with a
general ministry – such as the Ministry of Home or Finance – to
obviate this bias,” adds Basant.
Basant further adds that policy action shouldn’t be seen only
through the “minority lens…It is important to recognize that
mainstreaming would require a significant change in the nature of
Surprised at the selective use of recommendations, Basant says
that “such actions would make the BJP’s claims of minority
appeasement seem more credible to voters in the majority