Seven years after the Sachar Committee report drew attention to the under-representation of Muslims in employment and education, figures tabled in the Lok Sabha show that minority groups are still under-represented in government jobs. More worrying still, their numbers are falling.
In 2011-12, the five minority communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians — accounted for only 6.24 per cent of the new recruits in government jobs, including ministries, public sector banks, Railways, paramilitary forces and public sector units, down from 10.18 per cent in 2010-11 and 7.28 per cent in 2009-10.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering conceded that the representation of minorities in public bodies and educational institutions is not proportionate to their population. According to the 2001 census, there are 13.81 crore Muslims, 2.40 crore Christians, 1.92 crore Sikhs, 79.55 lakh Buddhists and 69,000 Zoroastrians in India.
Acting on the Sachar Committee’s recommendation, the government had attempted to carve out a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities. But the move was challenged and the issue is now in court.