Considerable Progress, But Miles to Go
Kundu Committee Report
This report is prepared on the basis of the Prof. Amitabh Kundu’s Report running into 180 pages
by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj)
Post-Sachar Muslims have benefitted from several special schemes of the union Government. But greater attainments in the field of education are imperative.
The Kundu Committee Report on implementation of Justice Rahinder Sachar Committee Report presented to the Minister for Minority Affairs Ms. Najma Heptullah on October 9, 2014 has made several recommendations for amelioration of the socio-economic and educational conditions of Muslims.
The most significant recommendation of the Committee headed by noted economist Prof. Amitabh Kundu of the Sociology Department of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, pertains to putting in place a law on the lines of protection offered to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to provide security to the Muslims. The Kundu committee was constituted by the previous UPA government in August 2013. The committee was mandated to evaluate the process of implementation of Sachar Committee Report and the Prime Minister’s new 15 point programme. The committee was also asked to assess the outcome of the programmes implemented by Ministry of Minority Affairs and other Ministries and to recommend the corrective measures by September, 2014.
It says that in certain cases, Muslims have to face graver threats to the security of their lives, dignity and property than the SCs and STs. It has also recommended inclusion of certain categories of Muslims in SC category and proportional representation in the OBC category for reservation. It has pointed out that several Muslims share the same caste system as their Dalit counterparts among the Hindus.
The Report found lack of coordination and convergence between the Centre and the States coming in the way of effective implementation of Sachar recommendation.
It has emphasized the need for frequent survey of heath conditions, specific reference to representation of various religious communities among people afflicted with severe and chronic diseases. It wanted the districts with concentration of Muslim minority to be special target for such surveys. The committee has complained that non-availability of community-wise data on implementation of various government schemes and issues pertaining to literacy, employment, government welfare schemes, hinders the identification, detection and determination of sections being deprived of development opportunities.
In a chapter exclusively devoted to waqf assets, the Report finds that ordinary modifications in laws such as Rent Control Act, Land Reforms Act, Agricultural and Urban Land Ceiling Act, Tenancy Act etc (mainly related to various States of the Union) would enable better management and effective utilization of these landed assets.
The Sachar Report had stressed that panels comprising representatives from the Central Waqf Council and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to review the status and maintenance of such religious monuments and properties which are under the care and custody of the ASI. The committees should meet every quarter and should be empowered to transfer such assets to the State Waqf Boards for maintenance. Though this was suggested by the Sachar Committee too, but the panel that was formed then, could not proceed beyond pleasantries.
We present the salient features of the Kundu Committee Report in the following paragraphs.
Fertility Rate Dropping
The fertility rate among Muslim women has been dropping and makes an observation that there is convergence with the national average. The Fertility rate refers to the number of children born to a woman during her reproductive ages of 15-49. By 2006 itself, the Muslim fertility rate on average was higher only by 0.5 (3.09) compared to the national average (2.6).
The report suggests that the fertility rate among Muslims is converging with the national. Therefore while the 2011 census figures on populations based on religion are still not out, it is highly unlikely that the Muslim share in the total population should have changed much from its 13.4% share in Census 2001. It is also significant to note that the census of 2011 calculates that the Mean age at marriage is highest in J&K (23.6) followed by Kerala (22.7), Delhi & Tamil Nadu (22.4), Himachal Pradesh (22.2), and Punjab (22.1). Rajasthan (19.8) has the lowest age at marriage.
Most Marriages only after 18
Also while the latest census data disaggregated by religion is yet awaited, the Census 2001 had
indicated then that a majority of Muslim girls are married only after attaining 18 years (56.9%), which was higher than the national average (56.5%) and that the incidence of child marriages (below 10 years) is the least (2.2%). Significantly, the Muslim sex ratio (936) is higher than the national average (933), and among SRCs Muslim women fare better than the majority Hindus as well as the Sikhs. They however lag behind the Christians (1,009), Buddhists (953), Jains (940) and others (992). The Child Sex Ratio among Muslims is also higher than among Hindus, and this is unlikely to have changed in 2011.
Level of Literacy
In 2011-12 about 74% of the population 6 years and above were literate. Among the broad socio-religious categories (SRCs), Muslims had lowest literacy level (70%) compared to 74% among Hindus and 83% among other religious minorities. The lowest literacy level was among the SC/ST Hindus followed by OBC Muslims. OBC Muslims had a lower level of literacy than the OBC Hindus with gap of 5 percentage points between them in 2011-12.
Overall while the level of literacy among Muslims was lower than Hindus, gender disparity
was lower among Muslims. At all levels of education the Muslims were closest to the ST
community with the lowest attainment. The share of Muslim children in primary school was
higher, and reduced with higher levels of education. That is, the Muslim community
irrespective of gender and rural-urban residence were less likely to attain Secondary and
Higher Secondary level of education.
Current attendance in educational institutions has increased during 2004-5 to 2011-12 among children of the age 6 to 14 for all SRCs. Among all the SRCs, the current attendance was lower for Muslim OBC category. Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, Hindu SC/ST saw highest increase in current attendance (12% points) followed by OBC Muslims (9% points). Although current attendance among General Hindus increased by just 3 percentage points, it remained the highest among all SRCs in 2004 and as well as 2011-12. Similar was the case with the Other Minorities group.
Never attended and Non-Attendance
Enrollment improved in schools during 2004-05 and 2001-12. About 4% of children still never attended school in 2011-12. In 2011-12, Muslim community had higher percentage of children who never attended school (around 15%) followed by Hindu SC/ST (14%).
Currently not-attending any educational Institution
About 3-4% of children aged 6-14 years were not attending any educational institution in 2004-05 and 2011-12. There was not much variation in the percentage of currently attending any institution across the all the SRCs. Proportion of non-attendance has decreased during 2004-05 and 2011-12 for all of the SRCs. Muslims had slightly high share of children with non-attendance than Hindus and Other Minorities.
Reasons for Dropout
Distribution of those not enrolled/dropped-out/discontinued by reasons for different religious groups in the age 5 to 14 years and 15 to 24 years present very interesting results. The reason for being out of school, particularly among the Muslims, is primarily on account of the parent either not interested or facing financial constraints. The next important reason is lack of interest among children. The overwhelming reason is NOT child labour, lack of teachers and lady teachers, or lack of toilets in schools.
Among Muslims, financial constraint is stated as the major reason by nearly 30% among the 5-14 year olds and 26% among the older cohort, 15 to 24 years. Parent not interested may also be interpreted as due to a financial constraint.
Opening of Primary School
The achievements in opening up of Upper Primary Schools (1st to 5th standard) have also been quite satisfactory at all India level and in different States in almost all the financial years from 2006-07 to 2011-12. At the all-India level, the achievements of the targets have been more than 80% in all the financial years, except in 2008-09 when it was 73.8%
Progress in terms of basic education at the all-India level has been slowest among Muslims between 2004-05 and 2011-12, a period that coincides with Congress-led UPA rule at the central level. SCs and STs performed best, thanks to affirmative action policies and the general Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). However, the situation at state level is quite mixed – Muslims did better than Hindus in Assam, Bihar, J&K; than SCs in Bihar, J&K, Kerala; while STs outperformed Muslims in Maharashtra, UP and West Bengal. Muslim performance in West Bengal was the worst during this period, coinciding with Left rule in the state.
Graduate and above
The completion of graduate or higher level education was quite low for all the SRCs in 2004-
05 and 2011-12. In 2011-12 (and in 2004-05) other Minorities and Hindus were way ahead of Muslims with respect to graduation or higher level of education. Among Hindus, General Hindus register highest rate of graduate or higher level of education in 2011-12, whereas SC/ST had the lowest rate (2.6%). OBC Muslims were also equal to SC/ST Hindus in this respect. Muslims general do slightly better with completion rate of 6% in 2011-12. OBC Hindus were doing comparatively better than other subgroups among both Hindus and Muslims. Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, completion rate of graduation or higher level of education increased for all the SRCs.
Literacy and Primary/Middle School Drop Out
The Muslim community had lower educational attainment and higher drop out beginning at a very low age of 10 years, compared to other SRCs. Literacy is lower among Muslims compared to Hindus. Within religious groups SC/ST among Hindus and OBCs among Muslim have lower levels of literacy. Gender disparity in literacy is higher in rural areas among Hindus compared to
The main challenge is how to keep children in primary and middle school.
a) Implement the Mid-day Meal Scheme in schools in Muslim dominated areas with food items that are in the normal diet of these communities.
b) Improve teacher quality to encourage children to attend and for parents to see the advantage in keeping the children in school.
c) Improve activities in school to keep the children engaged and interested in attending the classes.
d) Raise the scholarship amount available to children in class 1-6, as very small amounts will not serve the purpose to encouraging parents to keep children in school.
Drop out from Secondary and Higher Secondary
As we move from primary education to higher levels of education, it is seen that Muslim (and its sub-groups) does not perform well against other SRCs. For example, if we consider Secondary and Higher Secondary level, Hindus and other Minorities register significantly higher level compared to the Muslims. If we consider overall distribution of population with different level of education for various SRCs we observe that Muslims register better share in the lower segment of the educational attainment, i.e., primary and middle level schooling. From secondary level schooling onwards, share of Muslim population stand lower against other SRCs.
Educational attainment at all levels of education, primary, middle, secondary and higher secondary schooling had risen over the period 2004-05 to 2011-12. As we consider the highest level of completed education, all Muslim and Muslim general have the highest level of primary schooling, about 20%, while all Hindu and Hindu general had the lowest.
Other religions had the highest (30%) attainment at secondary and higher secondary level, followed by Hindu general, while SC/ST and OBC Muslims had the lowest. This implies that the drop out from the schooling system is higher among the two socially disadvantaged groups.
The following suggestions in this regard can be made:
a) Scholarship amounts for secondary and higher secondary schooling should be raised in order to meet all related costs.
b) Vocational training courses should be re-introduced in schools, if they do not exist.
c) Students undertaking vocational skill training in school should be given a special stipend to take care of the material requirements of such programmes such as cost of computer/tablets, raw materials required and so on.
d) In the globalized and digitalized world, English language has become an essential tool of learning. Special classes for students to learn English reading, writing and comprehension skill need to be organized within the schooling system.
KGBV Target Satisfactory
The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme is for setting up residential schools at upper primary level for girls belonging predominantly to the SC, ST, OBC and minority communities. The scheme is being implemented in educationally backward blocks of the country where the female rural literacy is below the national average and gender gap in literacy is above the national average. The scheme provides for a minimum reservation of 75% of the seats for girls belonging to SC, ST, OBC or minority communities and priority for the remaining 25%, is accorded to girls from families below poverty line.
Available data show that the targets for setting up KGBV has been quite low in areas with substantial minority population (ASMP) in the country. This can be inferred from the fact that the target was set at only 121 schools at all-India level in 2006-07, 314 in 2007-08, 168 in 2008-09, 479 in 2009-10, 107 in 2011-12 and only 3 in 2012-13. No target was set for the financial year 2010-11. A large share of the schools went to Bihar, Jharkhand, UP and J&K. In these states, the targets have been above 10 schools in most of the financial years and as a result, the achievements have been satisfactory (above 70%). This again shows a lack of consistency in policy planning and of systematic approach in allocation of targets. Available data till 30 June 2013 show that in MCDs, Muslim girls comprise more than 25.03% of the total girls enrolled in these schools while they constitute only 7.5% of the total students enrolled at the all-India level. This shows that Muslims are using the newly made available educational institutions.
Modernization of Madarsa Education
Available data show that amount sanctioned by the Central Government for modernization of Madarsas has increased from Rs. 42.52 crore in 2009-10 to Rs. 139.53 crore in 2011-12. The number of Madarsas benefitting from the scheme was 1,760 in 2009-10 and 5,934 in 2011-12, and total of 4,713 and 14,412 teachers respectively were supported by these grants. In 2009-10, only UP, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chandigarh used the scheme, but in 2010-11 the number of states using this went up to 12. Among the states, the major share of the money went to UP (total sanctioned amount was Rs. 31.9 crore in 2009-10 and 111.75 core in 2011-12) followed by Madhya Pradesh (sanctioned amount was Rs.1.91 crore in 2009-10 and Rs.10.85 crore in 2011-12). Total Rs.182.73 crore was released for 14,859 Madarsas involving 35,376 teachers in 2013-14.
Whopping rise in Scholarships
The merit-cum-mean scholarships provided to minority community students have also registered significant increase over the years. The number has risen from a mere 20,000 in 2006-07 to 60,000 in 2012-13. The percentage achievements of targets for the scholarships for Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have been above 100% in most of the financial years but it has been below 43% for Buddhists. The lower utilization of the scholarship for the latter is due to the fact that the neo-Buddhists also fall into the SC category and they are availing the SC scholarships.
This shows that scholarship scheme of the government has been highly successful. However,
notwithstanding this enormous growth in number of scholarships, it has been observed that (a) the numbers of the scholarship sanctioned are much less than the total application, and (b) there is considerable delay in disbursement of the scholarship.
Trends in share of minorities in employment in Central Government epartments/ministries/PSUs reporting the data given that the number of data reporting departments and ministries have differed in each year, we below analyse the data only for the departments and ministries which have reported the same in all the years during 2006-07 to 2012-13 to understand the trend in recruitments. We could identify 37 such ministries/departments under this category.
It can be seen that that overall the share of minorities in recruitment in these 37 ministries /departments has risen over the years. However, data also shows that share of minorities in recruitments in all group of services is much less than the share of their population. In these 37 ministries/departments, on an average minorities have constituted 7.5% of the new recruitment in Group A services over the years 2006-07 to 2012-13. The average share of minorities in new recruitment in these 37 ministries/departments in Group B services is 9.1%, Group C services is 8.6%, while for Group D services it is 8.6%. The average number of persons recruited from minority communities in Group B services in these 37 ministries/departments have been insignificant: on an average 316 per year during 2006-07 to 2012-13.
Opening of ITIs
The Government of India also set a target of converting 60 ITIs in minority concentrated districts as centre of excellence with the financial assistance from the World Bank. The available data on financial targets and achievements for the states are available from MoMA. The data show that at all-India level the performance in the utilisation of targeted amount has slackened over the years. In 2006-07, the total financial target was Rs. 33.85 crore and 100% of the same was utilised. However, in later years even the small amounts provided under the programme have not been utilised effectively and the achievements have been 50% in 2010-11, 41.6% in 2011-12 and 47.9% in 2012-13. This points out to the lack of zeal among the programme implementing officials and agencies. Some of the states have under achieved the financial targets in many financial years and such states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Meghalaya and Rajasthan.
Credits Far Less than Expected
The amount disbursed as credit by NMDFC over the years has increased but not to the extent expected. At the all-India level, the amount disbursed increased from Rs.0.43 crore in 1998-99 (Rs.13.17 crore in 2007-08) to Rs.186.70 crore in 2012-13, but has declined to 122.96 crores in 2013-14. The total beneficiary in 1998-99 were 3,281 (16,159 in 2007-08) which increased to 82,978 in 2012-13 but declined to 54,648 in 2013-14. However, given the expanse and depth of deprivation among minorities, especially among the Muslims, and size of their population, there is an urgent need to increase the credit amount and number of beneficiaries, otherwise there will hardly be any relevance of the NMDFC
NRDWP below 15%
National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) aims to tackle the problem of sustainability of water availability and poor water quality and the need for decentralized approaches and financing of operation and management cost. The PM’s 15 Point Programme suggests that at least 15% of the benefits under the scheme should flow to the MCDs, but both the habitations covered and investment made have been below this benchmark of 15%, except in 2011-12 when the minority concentrated habitations covered were about 18% of the total habitation. This also shows the share of habitation covered in majority of the years have not been equal to the share of population of MCDs in country’s total population. The maximum coverage of habitation under this scheme over the years 2009-10 to 2011-12 has been in Assam, followed by West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. At the aggregate level, total 68,391 habitations with SMP have been covered under this programme with total cost of Rs.15,489 crore during the period from 2009-10 to 2012-13.
The Committee had on the panel besides Prof. Kundu, Mr. P. C. Mohanan, Dy. Director General, Central Statistical Organisation; Mr Amirullah Khan, Dy. Director, Gates Foundation, New Delhi; P. A. Inamdar, Educationist, Pune; Dr. Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi; Prof. P. M. Kulkarni, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Ms. Jeemol Unni, Institute for Rural Management, Anand; Ms. Farah Naqvi, Prime Minister’s Office; Prof. Abdul Shaban, Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy Habitat, Mumbai; Mr. Ali Ahmed, Secretary, Central Waqf Council, New Delhi.
Key to Abbreviation
MoMA = Ministry of Minority Affairs
ASMP = Areas with substantial minority population
SRC = Socio-religious communities
KGBV = Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya
UP = Uttar Pradesh
J&K = Jammu and Kashmir
MCD = Muslim Concentrated Districts