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No special concern for minority districts: Sachar review panel

The Sachar Committee report said financial resources and physical targets available to minorities, especially Muslims

The Congress-led UPA created a multi-sectoral development programme for 90 Minority Concentrated Districts (MCD) in the country but a review panel scrutinising implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations did not perceive any special concern for these districts.

The panel said the government neither properly assessed development deficit in these districts, nor made adequate financial resources available.

“There has not been any systematic assessment of development deficits in MCDs for determination of targets under different schemes,” the evaluation panel’s interim report said.  Soon after the Sachar Committee Report was submitted, the Centre decided to identify Minority Concentrated Districts and give special attention to their development.

One of the criteria for an Minority Concentrated Districts was it should have a combined minority population of over 25 per cent.

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The report said financial resources and physical targets available to minorities, especially Muslims, were meagre and in some schemes has not been utilised, reflecting lack of coordination and absence of systematic planning.

“Investments in any part of minority concentrated towns have been mentioned without ascertaining whether the minority community resides there,” the report points out. The review panel, headed by Amitabh Kundu, professor (economics) at Jawaharlal Nehru University, submitted its report on March 14 to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Among the recommendations was a special sub-quota for Muslims within the OBC and including Muslims in SC category, a law on the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Prevention of Atrocity Act, and incentives to public/ private sector institutions for promoting communal diversity. It called for development of institutional support system to help unemployed Muslim youth take up jobs in manufacturing and service sectors.

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It stated that all government agencies should be directed to incorporate socio-religious categorisation of beneficiaries in their information system designed for government programmes. “The committee found no special efforts by the Centre in addressing concerns of minority districts,” sources said.

First published on: 20-03-2014 at 12:52:11 am
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