Mains Marks Booster     1st August 2023        
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  • A separate group with shared ethnic, cultural, or ethical features is referred to as a minority. However, it is assumed that such a group is inferior to the community at large. The defining quality of a minority group is subordinacy.
  • In the Indian Constitution, the term "minority" is not defined. India, the second-most populated nation in the world, is home to a large population of people from many cultures, languages, and religions.  
  • Here, religious minorities including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians make up 19% of the population of the nation.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Art 29: Every citizen, regardless of where they live or which sector of the population they belong to, has the right to protect their own language, script, or culture. 
  • This article, in contrast to articles 25–28, offers protection to both linguistic and religious minorities. 
      • Additionally, the phrase "sections" used in the text indicates that the majority of people are also covered by the legislation.
  • Art 30: According to this article, minorities have the right to form and run educational institutions of their choice. This article solely applies to linguistic or religious minorities, in contrast to article 29.
  • Art 350B: This item was included to allow the president to designate a special officer for minorities to conduct investigations and carry out tasks pertaining to defending the rights of linguistic minorities.

Schemes For Minorities

  • Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme: Students from registered minority communities can get financial aid under the scheme to pursue higher education, such as an M.Phil. or PhD, provided their combined yearly income is less than Rs. 6.0 lakh.
  • Naya Savera – It is a free Coaching and allied scheme aims to improve the knowledge and skills of students and candidates from notified minority groups in order to help them find employment in the public or private sector, jobs in the private sector, and admission to reputable institutions for undergrad and graduate-level technical and professional programmes. 
  • Nai Udaan – It helps in clearing the competitive exams administered by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), State Public Service Commission (PSC), and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for students from India's minority communities.
  • Other significant schemes: Padho Pardesh, USTAAD (upgrading Skills and Training in preservation of traditional   Ancestral Arts/Crafts of minorities), Hamari Dharohar (to preserve the rich heritage of minority communities) 
  • Jiyo Parsi - Scheme for Containing Population Decline of Parsis in India.
  • Nai Roshni -  To develop the leadership quality of minority women

Institutional Measures For Minorities

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) 

  • NCM is comprised of a chairperson, a vice chairperson, and five members, was established by the government in accordance with the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992.
  • Functions:
      • The commission keeps an eye on how the protections outlined in the Constitution and in legislation passed by the State and Federal legislatures function.
      • Additionally, it offers suggestions on how minorities' interests might be effectively protected by the federal government or state governments through the deployment of safeguards.
  • Evaluation of the Union's and the States' success in the development of minorities.
    • Submitting specific reports to the central government on minorities' issues, notably the challenges they encounter.
    • Any other item that the Central Government may refer to it.

Issues faces by NCM

  • Lack of constitutional status: NCM lacks the autonomy and influence it needs to perform its duties well since it is a statutory body rather than a constitutional entity.
  • Toothless tiger: It hasn't been given any "teeth" in terms of its ability to exercise their legal authority to carry out their constitutionally mandated duties. The district and high courts have the authority to reverse the Commission's judgement.
  • Preferential appointment:  The majority of the current appointees were "social activists" with ties to the governing party, as opposed to earlier appointments that included former chief justices, public employees, professors, etc.
  • Lack of staff:  Not filling of curcial vaccant positions leads to improper functioning of the Commission. As an illustration, the Commission tasked with holding hearings is unable to handle the large number of cases it gets.

Way forward

  • The Commission should establish certain baseline objectives for the pendency rates in order to decrease the number of cases that are pending at the organizational level.
  • An effective way to deal with the issue of open leadership roles is to periodically undertake a staffing needs assessment.
  • Improvements in technology, such as spending on more sophisticated information management systems, may aid in lowering the number of cases that remain pending with the Commission after an e-hearing.
  • In order to lower the pendency rates and improve the efficacy of the Commission's hearings, it may be helpful to strengthen the State Commissions and create new ones where none now exist.


  • Right now, a number of institutions and organisations serve as these minority groups' voice.  It is crucial to adhere to the 3Cs—commitment, connectedness, and coherence—in order to protect minorities. 
  • It is imperative to establish at least a framework that can fall under the umbrella of the word "minority," as no organisation has specifically defined it.  
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