‘Situation No Better In JK; Youth Must Actively Participate In Civil Service Exams’
Srinagar, Mar 20: In the backdrop of a continued debate on the share of Muslims in civil services in India, a top officer associated with the Sachar Committee Sunday signaled a note of caution for Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that their share at the higher levels of bureaucracy is too negligible. This, he said, should be a matter of concern for the people who should ensure their active participation in the civil service examinations to occupy top slots in the state bureaucracy.
“The overall percentage of Muslims in bureaucracy in India is just 2.5 and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is no better, despite being a Muslim-majority state,” Dr Syed Zaffar Mehmood, the Officer on Special Duty to the Sachar Committee, told Greater Kashmir on the sidelines of a workshop here. “Ideally this should not have been the case. I am sure the Kashmiri youth can occupy the top slots in the bureaucracy if they actively participate in the civil service examinations and work hard. It is time for introspection.”
He said: “While the presence of Muslims in government offices at lower rung is from 20 percent to less than 50 percent, in higher bureaucracy their share is a measly 2.5 percent.”
Mehmood, also the president of Zakat Foundation of India, said hardly one or two percent of the recommendations of Sachar Committee have been implemented on ground. “Only some recommendations vis-à-vis scholarships for minority students have been implemented,” he said.
The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a high level committee for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India.
Elaborating, he said, the Government of India is yet to establish the Equal Opportunities Commission or institute “Incentives for Diversity Index,” as recommended by the Sachar Committee. “They are not going to do so unless we wake up and seek answers from them,” he said, speaking at the one-way workshop on “Empowerment of the Deprived” at Institute of Management Public Administration (IMPA) here. The workshop was organized by the Zakat Foundation of India in collaboration with the J&K RTI Movement to aware people about the centrally-sponsored schemes for the minorities.
Mehmood said the Committee had recommended a new cadre of officers, on the lines of the civil services, so that the state Wakf boards and Central Wakf Council are managed better. “When we filed an RTI application in this regard, a junior officer in the Ministry of Minority Affairs had dismissed the recommendation in two words: not feasible,” he said. “This is despite the fact that there are five lakh registered properties of Wakf in India with 6 lakh acre of land. This could have generated an annual income of Rs 6000 crores but sadly it is just fetching Rs 163 crores at the moment. That is why we had asked for creation of Indian Wakf Services on the pattern of Indian Administrative Service so that the property, which is managed by Muslims, is managed in a better way.”
Rajendar Sachar had said his committee had found “a severe shortage of senior government officers who are Muslim to manage Wakf affairs. A separate cadre would mean officers who are not only permanent but also qualified enough.”
Mehmood said a number of centrally-sponsored schemes for minorities have not yet been implemented. “There is a programme called scheme for providing quality education in Madrassas (SPQEM). It has not yet been published despite Rs 50 lakh annually granted for its publicity. Sadly, we Muslims are sleeping over the issue. We don’t Google to find out about them,” he said.
He said there was need to establish minority groups in Kashmir who would aware people about these schemes, roughly over 200.
He said the “Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for Minorities” is suffering for lack of information and publicity. “At the sate level, the governments are yet to issue requisite orders,” he said.
The Sachar Committee, he said, has also sought redefinition of Schedule Caste, wherein the reservations would be applicable to areas where there are more minorities. “Sadly reverse is happening,” he said.
Nisar Ahmad Tamboli, who runs the Minority Welfare Organization in Maharashtra, said one way to end the “oft-repeated complaints of exploitation and denial of rights to Muslims” is to stand up against injustices. “We can’t remain in complaint-mode for ever. We have to wake up and fight for our rights,” he said.
He gave a detailed account as to how they have created a website of their own where they daily upload court orders, schemes, or any other documents pertaining to the welfare of the Muslims.
The convener of the J&K RTI Movement, Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat, gave a detailed account of the Right to Information Act, which, he said, is aimed at empowering a common man. “We can use this act to seek information about the schemes meant for the minorities,” he said.
A number of activists from Zakat Foundation of India and RTI Movement participated in the workshop. People from various districts of the Valley also made it to the day-long programme.
Zakat Foundation of India was established in 1997 as a grassroots level organization by residents of New Delhi. It is a a Non-Governmental/Non-Profit Organization which collects and utilizes ‘zakat’ or charity for socially beneficial projects in a transparent and organized manner, reads its website. “Our projects include running an orphanage, charitable hospital, providing stipends to widows, micro credit etc.”