Economic Empowerment of Indian Muslims
In the light of Sachar Committee Report
Chairman AICMEU, Mumbai
situation report prepared by P.M.’s High Level Committee popularly known as
Sachar Committee on the social, economic and educational status of Muslim
Community of India and it’s publication in November 2006 has once again
heated the debate of deprivation of Muslims of India on the one hand and
dream to bring sizeable section of our population i.e. Indian Muslim as a
rightful partners in progress on the other. Evaluators of the findings of
this report have expressed diverse views. To some, report is not
comprehensive and does not provide an insight into the real condition of
Muslims on account of want of input from various states and different
sectors. Moreover it is alleged to be more a political stunt rather than a
sincere effort on the part of the people in power who have ruled the
independent India for around 50 years and are therefore basically
responsible for deficit and deprivation. To others, Committee on behalf of
the government has done a commendable job hence it should be recognized. The
compilation of stray and sporadic research, survey reports and unpublished
data particularly of the public sector has made available an authentic
document for understanding, further research, analysis and enactment of
suitable laws, rules, policies and programs on behalf of the community as
well as the Government to initiate empowering change process. In fact
committee’s remark “community exhibits deficits and deprivation in
practically all dimensions of development” adds to the understanding that
fruits of the country’s development have been disallowed to be justly shared
by Muslims in proportion to their population.
But keeping aside the general responses of oppositions and supposition,
there are questions and apprehensions which need to be settled well before
any conclusion about worth or worthlessness of this exercise can be drawn.
For instance, the level of sincerity and seriousness of the government about
conditions of Muslims of India! Further, what status government grants to
this report? Is it merely an academic exercise or will it be binding on
government to act as per recommendations? If the answer is in negative,
should it not be treated as mere exercise and as part of ongoing process of
befooling pacifying and dumping issues related to Muslims of India?
Specially in view of the past records of having large number of commissions
on communal riots including Gujarat in post independent India, Gopal Krishna
Commission and Srikrishna Commission etc., where exercise finishes with
compilation and submission of the reports without any end product. If so,
what about the national dream of establishing civil society and attaining
the status of developed nation. Will the government be able to change its
perceptions and of the people that in reality, Muslim backwardness is not
the issue of Muslims alone but a national issue? But if response is in
affirmative, then whether the findings and recommendations of this report
are going to have an impact on Indian Vision 2015, Planning Commission’s
course of action, Five Y.P. and Annual Budgets? Even if yes, what is the new
strategy when “P.M.’s 15 point Programme” has mainly benefited other
minorities marginalizing Muslims? Is there going to be enactment of laws and
formulation of rules for award and punishment for implementation of
government schemes in letter and spirit? Is there plan for effective
intervention of Ministry of Empowerment and Social Justice, Ministry of
Minority Affairs and National Minority Commission and design for meaningful
accountability system for RBI, NABARD, SIDBI, NMFDC and NBCFDC? Is
community’s own philanthropic initiative in terms of Wakf going to get the
patronage of Central and State government as per the committees’
recommendations and desires? There are host of other questions like this
related to each topic committee dealt with warranting an answer.
However coming back to our track let us summarily go through findings on
economic status and recommendations of the committee to better the lot,
unattended for many -many years.
Highlights of Reports about Current Economic Status
has compiled its findings and expressed its views under twelve different
heads. All are inter related and inter connected. However chapters 5, 6, and
8 are directly related to the economic conditions of Muslims. While all
other chapters are indirectly related to economic status in views of their
impacts, chapters 9 and 11 reinforce the view of economic deprivation as it
deals with participation of Muslims in Government Employment and programmes
and Wakfs properties. Chapter 5 entitled as Economy and Employment
provides a detailed comparative account of the employment of Muslims,
vulnerable nature in the context of employment and policy focus in order to
improve the conditions of work for the community. Chapter 6 entitled as
Access to Bank Credit summarises availability of money to the community,
which is in any is lifeblood of the comparative economy. Chapter 8 entitled
as Poverty Consumption and Standard of Living provides data with
respect to basic needs across socio-religious communities (SRCs).
Poverty Consumption and Standard of Living
of Poverty among Muslims is the highest with Head Count Ratio of 38.4% (o
m 12.2%) in urban areas and 26.9% (o m 13.3%) in rural areas.
Substantially large proportion of Muslim Households in urban areas is less
than Rs. 500 expenditure bracket.
Muslims consume only 75% of the poverty line expenditure on an average
which is lowest of the SRCs.
Economy & Employment
Work Population Ratios’ (WPRs)
Muslim male was 47.5 per cent against 51.7 percent all religious
communities, while for Muslim female it was 14.1 percent against national
average of 25 per cent (census of India 2001)
Incidence of Unemployment
of unemployment are slightly higher for all Muslims than for all Hindus,
which is generally not higher than 11 per cent.
Regular Salaried Job:-
Both in public and private sector, Muslim workers figure only 13% against
25% Hindu Workers.
formal Sector (Govt., PSUs, Pub & Pvt. Ltd. Cos.) share of Muslim Workers
in urban areas is less than 8% as compared to the national average of 21%.
Street Vending especially without any fixed location, the share of Muslim
male workers is 12% as compared to the national average of 8%.
Security & Defence:-
Participation in security and defence related activities at the Central
Government level Muslim share was only 8% while that of Hindus was 42%.
Percentage to All
Civil Service Officers
IFS & IPS)
Indian Administrative Service
Indian Foreign Service
Indian Police Service
All Reported Government
Employment (Excludes PSUs)
Self – Employment Status
Self-employment in household enterprises
57.4% of total Muslim Workers are engaged in
self-employment in household industries compared to national average of
12% of Muslim workers are engaged in street vending
(specially without any fixed location) as compared to national average
Percentage of Muslim women workers undertaking work within
their own homes is 70% in caparison to 51% for all other workers.
More than 41% of male workers engaged
in manufacturing of tobacco products are Muslims. The share of Muslims
in women workers in this sector is 35%.
About 30% of male workers engaged in manufacture of
garments are Muslims and the corresponding percentage among women
workers is 17%.
More than 26% of workers engaged in sale, repair and
maintenance of Motor Vehicles are Muslims.
More than 23% of male workers engaged in electrical
machinery and operator’s manufacturing are Muslims.
that unorganized private sector is the major source of livelihood for
Muslims. As one cannot live without bread, Muslims in India earn their
bread by engaging themselves in petty trades and cottages based economic
Access to Credit
of Muslims in outstanding Priority Sector Advances (PSAs) from financial
institutions has been observed as below –
Scheduled Commercial Banks 4.59%
Sector Banks 4.57%
Sector Banks 4.69%
Refinance (Production Credit) 3.20%
Refinance (Investment Credit) 3.9%
RBIs efforts to extend banking and credit facilities under
the PMs 15 point Programme have mainly benefited other Minorities
As the share of Muslim in population increases, their share
in amount outstanding tends to decrease.
Some banks have identified a number of Muslim concentrated
areas as “Negative Geographical Zones” where bank credit and other
facilities are not easily provided.
picked up figurative facts from Sachar Committee Report narrates its own
tale of horror and disempowerment to destitution. While closer look at the
report suggests that community itself is partially responsible for this
state of affair, it is basically certainly the guardians and masters of
power – Central, State and local self governments along with people with
biased and vitiated mindset in the private sector responsible for
converting a substantial national assets into liability.
Before turning to the tools of economic empowerment of the community, it
seems imperative to visit the concept of empowerment as debated and
understood. In fact, Empowerment as a concept relates to the enabling /
enabled competences of capabilities. In a more general context,
empowerment is seen as matter of providing at least to some extent means
of subsistence as a right. However empowerment in general is understood as
means to enable to control the personal, communal and societal environment
to foster their own development. Such control comprises of gaining
influence over the environment as well as accessing the environment to
enrich the socio – personal life. Thus empowerment is defined as a matter
of access and participation always being a process of getting empowered
rather than being concerned with a status of being empowered. More
particularly there is a need to become cautious with the creation of minor
positions and new forms of dependency rather than the development of
empowering settings. it may be noted that participation is part of
establishing power over oneself and at the same time conditions which are
decisive for one’s own life. In view of the above understanding it may be
concluded that empowerment has three elements / dimensions namely Access,
Participation and Control.
question of economic empowerment of Muslims of India in the light of
Sachar Committee findings and recommendations need to be understood in the
above context. The recommendations of the report for economic gain and
growth of the community emphasis the following points of general and
specific nature -
following recommendations can be made:
Committee, therefore, recommends promoting and enhancing access to
Muslims in Priority Sector Advances. Any shortfall in achievement of
targeted amount in minority specific programmes should be parked with
NMDFC, NABARD and SIDBI and specific programmes should be funded with
this amount. However, the real need is of policy initiatives that
improve the participation and share of the Minorities, particularly
Muslims in the business of regular commercial banks.
Instead of reporting 'Amount Outstanding', the RBI periodic reports
on Priority Sector Advances should contain data on 'Sanctions or
Disbursements to Minorities' in the reporting period, along with the
'amount outstanding'. The modified reports on priority sector advances
should also segregate figures furnished under 'Others' to reflect the
deployment of funds by banks in institutions like NABARD and other
A policy to enhance the participation of minorities in the micro-credit
schemes of NABARD should be laid down.
This policy should spell out the intervention required by NABARD through
a mix of target and incentive schemes based on the population percentage
of Muslims in the village in order to enhance the participation of
Muslims in micro-credit. In any case, data on the participation of
different SRCs in such schemes should be collected and shared with the
RBI or the NDB.
detailed analysis of Muslim participation in government employment and
other programmes has shown very limited participation in both. While no
discrimination is being alleged, it may be desirable to have
experts drawn from the Community on relevant interview panels and Boards.
This practice is already in vogue in the case of SCs/STs.
There should be transparency in information about minorities in all
It should be made mandatory to publish/furnish information in a
prescribed format once in three months and also to post the same on the
website of the departments and state governments. There should be
provision for reporting default and delays in processing/rejection of
application at the state / district / block levels. In line with the
thrust towards greater transparency, applicants should also have full
right to information about the status of their applications. The
information regarding the application, and the processing stage should
be made known to the applicant on request. This information should also
be made available through the website and touch screens to the
Improving Employment Opportunities and Conditions
The country is going through a high growth phase. This is the time to
help the underprivileged to utilize new opportunities through skill
development and education.
policy intervention needs to help workers engaged in growth-oriented
sectors to become part of the larger network of market-oriented firms
engaged in that sector. For those caught in the stagnant sectors, a
transition path will have to be evolved. Skill up-gradation, education
and credit availability, referred to earlier will have an important role
in both these strategies. The other deficit is in regular employment as
a very small proportion of Muslim workers are engaged in regular work,
especially in salaried jobs with the public sector or the large private
sector. The conditions of work of not only the self-employed Muslim
workers but also the regular workers are precarious.
these conditions, the following initiatives seem desirable:
Provide financial and other support to initiatives built around
occupations where Muslims are concentrated and that have growth
These initiatives can take the form of interventions where existing
skills of the workers are combined with knowledge of modern management
practices, new technology, and emerging market needs. The case of Maya
Organic, discussed in Chapter 5 as a good example of such an
intervention. Similar initiatives need State support but market
orientation of such initiatives is critical for their success. In
specific contexts the skilled persons benefiting by these interventions
may consist of youth who have not had adequate schooling. In these
situations the intervention may need to include some educational
content, as an essential concomitant.
skill up-gradation needs might be high in such clusters, location of
ITIs, polytechnics and other institutions that provide skill training to
non-matriculates need to be located here. Availability of such
institutions in the vicinity would not only help those sections of the
workers who are involved in growth-oriented industries but also those
who wish to move to new sectors through skill formation or up-gradation.
Given the precarious conditions of the self-employed persons in
the informal sector, especially the home-based workers, it is desirable
to have a mandated social security system for such workers.
Casual workers in the informal sector should also be able to participate
in such schemes. Since the State is already thinking of such a scheme,
an early implementation would benefit a large section of the Muslim
population along with helping the larger segment of the informal sector
Efforts should be made to increase the employment share of Muslims
amongst the teaching community, health workers, police personnel, bank
employees and so on. Employers should be encouraged to endorse their
organizations as 'Equal Opportunity Institutions' so that applicants
from all SRCs may apply. A time bound effort in this direction is
simple measures like undertaking a visible recruitment process in areas
and districts with high percentage of Muslims, job advertisements in
Urdu and vernacular newspapers and other media, or simple messages like
'women, minority, and backward class candidates are encouraged to apply'
may create an atmosphere of trust and confidence. Similarly, not as a
measure to eliminate discrimination but as an initiative to build
confidence, it may be useful to have at least one Muslim inspector/subinspector
in the Muslim concentrated Thanas, Muslim health personnel in health
units located in such areas, a few Muslim teachers in schools located in
such areas and so on.
Enhancing the Efficacy of Infrastructure Provision
alleged that in many situations, the service providers have inherent
biases and show resistance to reach out to the Community. To correct
this situation the following measures are suggested.
Credible NGOs, with necessary expertise, from the Muslim community are
few and far between. These institutions, being closer to the
community can indeed play an important role as intermediaries between
policy programmes announced by the government and their beneficiaries
within the Muslim community. Besides, there is need to encourage
the setting up of civil society organizations from amongst the Muslim
community as well. But once again, the reach of such organizations
is going to be very limited and the responsibility of the State in
providing basic health and other infrastructure facilities remains the
main hope of all poor, including Muslims.
The government would be well advised that all
villages/towns/habitations/ be provided with basic amenities, good
quality government schools and health facilities, pucca approach roads,
and general improvement in living conditions ( supply of
electricity/housing/clean drinking water and sanitation). This is in
the overall interest of India and not only of Muslims alone. Not
providing these basic facilities is a violation of human rights.
The issues relating
to disparities across socio to religious communities are of utmost
importance to our nation today. If this Report contributes in any way in
constructively dealing with these issues and in facilitating a more
informed discussion on them, the Committee’s efforts would be well
Recommendations made by the committee are quite exhaustive though not
conclusive for the economic empowerment of Muslims of India. Therefore, in
addition to above, following few more humble suggestions are made, which
are likely to positively affect the empowering change process –
positive change warrants self initiative. Let us remember that even God
does not change the condition of the people unless they change
themselves. Therefore a behavioural change with respect to perception
with respect to poverty and prosperity, dignity of labour, and increase
in work participation rates etc. is required. Muslim organizations have
to play an important role in this respect. I want to use the formulae
Give them the taste of prosperity, they will become prosperous.
determination on the part of the people in power can only facilitate
initiative and change process. For this a change in perception is
required and that is – Deficits and deprivation of Muslims in India is
concern of Indian people and Indian Government and not Muslims alone.
Further this determination should be visible in annual budgets and five
Formation of a Think Tank and Advocacy Group
Identification, Initiative and undertaking right issues at the right
moment in a rightful way most often nips the problem in the bud.
Similarly in a democratic country like ours, people’s opinion
pressurises the government for necessary action. Unfortunately community
lacks grossly on both counts. Therefore there is an urgent need that
community intelligentsia comes together and addresses the community
issues and problems and guides the people for appropriate timely
actions. Similarly advocacy group should regularly liaison with people
responsible for framing programmes and policies and implementing them.
Centre for Studies on Indian Muslims
a need to establish a centre for studies on Indian Muslims like the one
announced by Jamia Hamdard. This is so because the issue of growth and
development of Indian Muslim Community is a complex one and needs an in
depth study and analysis. Simple material support and provisions may not
supplant the real change process. Moreover variables of growth and
development are dynamic in nature; hence no static model can ensure
Chamber of Commerce
& Industry, India
need to establish and effectively operate chambers of commerce and
Industry. In addition to performing conventional functions, these
chambers should focus on providing consultancy, training, interfacing
with modern techniques and marketing support to small and cottage
industries where from large chunk of Muslim population derives its
Promotion of Small Scale Industries Cluster
Promotion of small scale industries cluster in Muslim dominated areas
for opening opportunities of employment, ancillary works and recognition
of production process according to Japanese and Chinese models.
Micro Credit Institutions
formation is pre – requisite for economic growth. Micro Savings of
Muslims need to be mobilized and invested for profit generation.
Community initiative in this field can supplement government programmes
of Micro Credit. Hence it is recommended to establish a Micro Credit
institution preferably in the Cooperative Sector with a capital of Rs.
Organic and Commercial Farming
Substantially large number of Muslims lives in rural areas with small
land holdings. There is a need to orient these farmers to commercialise
their farming and make use of government schemes of growing medicinal
plants and diesel seed farming.
Employment Exchange in the Voluntary Sector
number of jobseekers remain unemployed on account of information gap of
the employment market. This is more so in case of people living in slums
and remote places and rural areas. Voluntary sector efforts to counsel,
guide, retrain and bring unemployed youths to the door of job
opportunities will certainly help them uplift economically. Therefore
there is an urgent need to promote schemes like
www.login4job.com or take new initiative in this field.
NGO Capacity Building
need to take initiative for establishment of NGO’s in the backward
Muslim concentrated 55 districts and arrange to train the existing NGO’s
enabling them to become effective vehicles of benefits of private
philanthropy and public sector schemes (15 Point Programme) to the
marginalized people. It may be noted that NGO interventions in this
field is bringing wonderful results. And therefore there is no reason
why Muslims NGO’s can’t play a positive role in economically uplifting
Muslims of India.
Stress on Quality Education and Training
Education and Training institutions do not produce quality products.
This is why most of them remain unemployed and unemployable. Hence there
is a need for focussed attention in this filed. The community should
consider establishing grade rating agencies on the pattern of NAAC.
Competitive Examinations for Jobs
Administrative sector has still vast potential for jobs. But Muslim
youths participation rate is disappointing (only 4%). There is a need to
do focus work like that of Hamdad Education Society. Existing
institutions need to take advantage of central and state government
funding schemes and prepare students for larger participations. The
establishment of Muslim Career Council of India for focussed work in
this field may be an option in this regard.
Wider use of Insurance Sector
Insurance sector provides cover to life and material losses of diverse
nature. It is imperative for the community to subscribe to these schemes
on the wider scale. Proper awareness and educational campaign is
warranted to turn economic losses into economic gains through these
Commercial Exploitation of Wakf Properties
understood that large number of wakf properties alone can economically
empower the community provided they are commercially exploited. With
change in lease laws, private sector developers can be invited for this
purpose. Moreover the establishment of Wakf Properties Development
Corporation (WPDC) under the control, participation and guidance of
Central Wakf Council, State Wakf Boards and Muslim NGOs may be another
option in this regard.
an institution has vast potentials of a meliorating economic sickness of
the community. According to an estimate, the annual disbursement of
Zakat amounts to approximately Rs. 10,000 crores. This is the high time
that community think and act for productive use of Zakat Fund.
submission made above is no way exhaustive. Much more can be written and
is possible only by disempowering the process of destitution
“GOD DOES NOT CHANGE THE CONDITION OF THE
PEOPLE UNLESS THEY CHANGE THEMSELVES.”
empowerment can be done by community itself by –
Galvanising its own men and material resources,
government act with sincerity towards the empowerment of its second
largest population segment.
by each one of us to contribute towards empowerment dream in whatever
humble way possible.