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Welfare Schemes for the Minority Communities

  • 29 Jul 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme,Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme,Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan, Minority Communities

For Mains: Welfare schemes related to minority communities, Issues Related to Minorities

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, shared significant achievements and insights about the various schemes and initiatives implemented by the government for the welfare and upliftment of minority communities in India.

What are the Various Schemes for the Welfare of Minority Communities in India?

  • Educational Empowerment Schemes:
    • Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme:
      • It is a centrally funded scholarship scheme for students in all states, which is open every year.
      • Aims to provide financial assistance to students from minority communities studying in classes 1 to 10.
      • Helps in covering educational expenses and encouraging minority students to pursue education.
    • Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme:
      • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and implemented through State Government and UT administration.
      • Provides scholarships to minority students studying in classes 11 and 12 and pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
      • Supports students in pursuing higher education and enhancing their career prospects.
    • National Means Cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS):
      • It is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) which was launched in 2008.
      • Focuses on providing financial assistance to meritorious minority students with limited financial resources.
      • Encourages academic excellence and ensures equal opportunities for deserving students.
    • Education Loan Scheme by National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC):
      • NMDFC offers an Education Loan Scheme to students belonging to minority communities, including the Jain community.
      • Concessional credit is provided for pursuing technical and professional courses with a maximum course duration of 5 years.
      • Educational loans of up to ₹20.00 lakh are available for 5-year courses in India and ₹30.00 lakh for 5-year courses abroad.
  • Employment and Economic Empowerment Schemes:
    • Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PMVIKAS):
      • Aims to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of minority communities.
      • Supports traditional crafts, art forms, and cultural practices to empower artisans and craftsmen.
    • NMDFC Scheme:
      • Provides concessional loans to minorities to support their economic ventures and entrepreneurship.
      • Enables economic self-reliance and promotes sustainable livelihoods.
  • Special Schemes:
    • Jiyo Parsi:
      • A unique scheme aimed at reversing the population decline of the Parsi community in India.
      • Implements measures to encourage Parsi families to have more children and sustain their community's cultural legacy.
    • Qaumi Waqf Board Taraqqiati Scheme (QWBTS) and Shahari Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana (SWSVY):
      • Focuses on the development and utilization of waqf properties for the welfare of minority communities.
      • Enhances infrastructure and facilities in waqf properties to serve the community better.
  • Infrastructure Development Schemes:
    • Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK):
      • Aims at creating better infrastructure in minority-concentrated areas.
      • Provides improved amenities, healthcare facilities, education centers, and skill development opportunities.

Minority Communities in India:

  • About:
    • Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
      • In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.
    • As per the Census 2011, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 19.3% of the total population of the country.
      • The population of Muslims are 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jain 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • The term "minority" is not defined in the Indian Constitution. However, the Constitution recognizes only religious and linguistic minorities.
    • Article 29: It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
    • Article 30: Under the article, all minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
    • Article 350-B: Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. But, the Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution.
  • Parliamentary Provisions:

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q. In India, if a religious sect/community is given the status of a national minority, what special advantages it is entitled to? (2011)

  1. It can establish and administer exclusive educational institutions.
  2. The President of India automatically nominates a representative of the community to Lok Sabha.
  3. It can derive benefits from the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (c)

Exp:

  • At present Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis (Zoroastrians) are notified as minority religious communities by GoI. There are certain special advantages that these communities are entitled by the Constitution of India as well as various other legislative and administrative measures.
  • Article 30 of the Indian Constitution upholds the right of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Hence, statement 1 is correct. There is no provision for the President of India to automatically nominate a member of a minority religious community to the Lok Sabha. This provision was earlier available for members of Anglo-Indian community under Article 331 of the Constitution. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.
  • Religious minorities can derive benefits from the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme. The programme was launched in 2005 to ensure the welfare of minorities in the fields of education, skill development, employment and prevention of communal conflicts. Hence, statement 3 is correct. Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.
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