Maharashtra has seen an increase of nearly 236 per cent in nine years in the number of educational institutes being issued minority status certificates, from 11 in 2005 to 37 last year, reveal figures of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).
The NCMEI was established under the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act and is mandated to issue certificates to minority educational institutes for their affiliation.
Figures show that the numbers have fluctuated for Maharashtra, it went up to 28 in 2007 and dipped to two in 2011, only to go up again in the subsequent years. In all, there are 148 educational institutes in the state which have been given a minority status by the NCMEI.
The top three states which have the largest number of such institutes are Kerala (3,718), Uttar Pradesh (1,965) and West Bengal (684).
The other states ahead of Maharashtra in absolute numbers include Madhya Pradesh (287), Karnataka (225), Arunachal Pradesh (198), Assam (193), Chhattisgarh (190), Delhi (183), Tamil Nadu (173) and Goa (159).
Overall, the commission has issued 8,948 minority certificates till December 12, 2013, which is a steep rise from 21 in 2005. The highest number of certificates issued across India was in 2012 and the figure stands at 1,965. Further, states or union territories having least number of institutes, which have been granted a minority status, are Daman (one), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (four), Meghalaya (six) and Andaman (seven) and Tripura (11).
Interestingly, the number of overall institutes being granted minority status certificates has seen a spurt after 2009, after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act came into existence, though the trend is not reflected across all states or union territories. Several schools, under the protection of their minority status, cite that they are exempted from implementing the 25 per cent reservation for economically backward students mandated under the RTE Act.
According to figures, while 848 institutes got such a status in 2009, the numbers went up steadily in subsequent years – 1,122 in 2010, 1,656 in 2011, 1,965 in 2012 and 1,670 last year.