The Ministry of Minority Affairs was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2006 to ensure a more focused approach towards issues relating to the notified minority communities, viz. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis), and Jains.
Central Wakf Council (CWC) is a statutory body under the the Waqf Act 1995, and is tasked to administer the Wakfs in the country. It also manages the running of State Wakf Boards.
Wakf is a donation for charitable purposes as recognised by Muslim Law.
National Commission for Minorities (NCM) is a statutory body, under the NCM Act 1992, tasked to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of minorities. The commission has powers of a civil court, such as summoning any person and enforcing his attendance, requiring discovery and production of any document.
National Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities (NCLM) is a constitutional body responsible for investigating all matters relating to rights and safeguards provided for linguistic minorities.
National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI)is a statutory body, under the NCMEI Act 2004, tasked to protect and safeguard minority educational institutions – as envisaged by Article 30 of the Indian Constitution. Under Article 30, the constitution of India has granted a fundamental right to all minorities, whether based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. However, the linguistic minorities do not come under the ambit of NCMEI Act. The minority educational institution status given by NCMEI, is given on religious basis with respect to the six notified minority communities.
Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme – the minority policy
The Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for Welfare of Minorities is a welfare agenda, launched in 2005, that lays down the government’s policy towards minorities. The 15 points programme contains the following broad headings:
- Enhancing Opportunities for Education
- Equitable Availability of ICDS services for children and lactating/pregnant mothers.
- Improving Access to School Education.
- Greater resources for teaching Urdu.
- Modernising Madarsa Education
- Scholarships for meritorious students
- Improving Educational Infrastructure through Maulana Azad Educational Foundation.
- Equitable Share in Economic Activities and Employment
- Self Employment and Wage Employment for the poor
- Upgradation of skills through technical training
- Enhanced Credit support for economic activities
- Recruitment to State and Central Services
- Improving the conditions of living of minorities
- Equitable share in rural housing scheme
- Improvement in condition of slums inhabited by minority communities
- Prevention and Control of Communal Riots
- Prevention of communal incidents
- Prosecution for communal offences
- Rehabilitation of victims of communal riots.
Schemes and Initiatives:
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram – Scheme for Infrastructure Development in minority concentration areas.
- NMDFC – National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation is a non-profit company that provides credit support for assisting self-employment among the minorities.
- Education, scholarship, and skill development schemes for minority students
- Learn and Earn (Seekho aur Kamao) – scheme for skill development to enhance employability.
- Naya savera – free coaching for students preparing for competitive exams. Nai Roshni – for leadership development of minority women
- Padho Pradesh – Interest subsidy on education loans for studying in a foreign country.
- Nai Udaan – financial support for students who clear prelims exam conducted by UPSC, SSC or State PSC.
- Nai Manzil – education for minority youth in J&K .
- USTTAD – scheme for supporting capacity building initiatives to preserve traditional arts and crafts.
- Maulana Azad Education Foundation supports creation of educational infrastructure.
- Hajj pilgrimage.
Sachar Committee report (2006) – on social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India – highlighted the under-representation of Muslims in bureaucracy and government employment.
18th December is celebrated as Minority Rights Day to commemorate the UN Declaration on Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities adopted on 18 December 1992.
The Constitution of India doesn’t define the term ‘minority’ but has mentioned the term considering two attributes – religion, and language.