New Delhi, Aug. 12: Minority employees still account for a small percentage of the government’s workforce, a central ministry survey has revealed, six years after the Sachar committee had highlighted the plight of Muslims and recommended hiring more people from the community.
According to the survey by the Union minority affairs ministry, in 2011-12 minority groups made up just 6.24 per cent of employees in government institutions like banks, public sector units, railways and paramilitary forces.
The figure for 2009-10 was 7.28 per cent. It rose 10.18 per cent in 2010-11 before dipping to 6.24, the lowest in the past five years, according to the survey report.
The survey claims that apart from discrimination, one reason for the falling number of minority employees has been the absence of qualified applicants from among Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) — communities notified as minorities.
“The representation of minorities in government jobs is still not proportionate to their population and it remains a big worry,” said minority affairs minister K. Rahman Khan.
Figures with the minority ministry show that the proportion of Muslims in the bureaucracy is just 2.5 per cent though the community, India’s largest minority, accounts for 14 to 15 per cent of the population. In the central paramilitary forces, the figure is 3.2 per cent.
According to the 2001 census, there are 13.81 crore Muslims, 2.4 crore Christians, 1.92 crore Sikhs, 79.55 lakh Buddhists and 69,000 Zoroastrians in India.
“There is no denying the fact that discrimination exists against minorities,” Khan, who had complained to the Prime Minister that the Sachar committee’s recommendation of having at least one minority member on recruitment panels was being violated, said.
“Our government is doing its best but the overall percentage has not gone up to our liking. It is really a matter of concern.”
The Prime Minister had in 2004 set up the Sachar committee which, in a report it came out with three years later, highlighted the condition of Muslims, saying their plight was worse than that of Dalits. One of its suggestions was to recruit more Muslims in government jobs.
Khan said only a sub-quota for minorities could solve the problem of under-representation. “This is the only solution or minorities will continue to suffer.”
The government’s attempt to carve out a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities last year had been challenged in court. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
A senior official in the minority affairs ministry said the survey report had highlighted lack of enough qualified candidates as well as poor response from the communities. “We have seen how Muslim youths in some states are not even coming forward for recruitment in the paramilitary forces. Local Muslim leaders need to intervene and encourage them to participate in the recruitment process,” he said.
Zafarul Islam Khan, president, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella body of Muslim organisations, didn’t agree that there were not enough qualified candidates. “This is nothing but a sham. The government has failed to deliver on this count,” he said.
The AIMMM leader said “reservation was the need of the hour” for the social and economic uplift of minorities, especially Muslims.