Baseline Survey in Minority Concentration Districts
Sponsored by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India
Coordinated by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi
The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA), GOI, had sponsored in 2007 a baseline survey of relative backwardness in 90 districts in the country having substantial number of minorities (at least 25%) in order to initiate relevant programmes for the socio-economic and infra-structural development of these communities and districts. Under the overall coordination of the ICSSR, four research institutes and two Universities were involved in this Baseline Survey of the Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs). The work began in 2007 and was completed in 2008.
For ascertaining their relative backwardness of districts having a substantial minority population, the following indicators were taken from 2001 Census data:
(a) religion-specific socio-economic indicators at the district level -
(i) literacy rate;
(ii) female literacy rate;
(iii) work participation rate; and
(iv) female work participation rate; and
(b) basic amenities indicators at the district level -
(i) percentage of households with pucca walls;
(ii) percentage of households with safe drinking water;
(iii) percentage of households with electricity; and
(iv) percentage of households with WIC latrines.
Existing data indicated that in these districts not only does the minority population suffer from economic and other deprivations but also the rest of the population because of the low level of overall development. But more updated and accurate data was needed by the Ministry to develop Multi-sector Development Plans (MsDP) for addressing the relative backwardness. The MsDP while giving priority to villages/areas having a substantial minority population would also benefit the entire district. The Baseline Survey was initiated to provide the latest data on the 8 basic indicators.
In all, 53 districts having values below the national average for both sets of parameters were considered relatively more backward and classified' in category 'A' have been identified. While 37 districts, which have values below the national average for either of the two sets of backwardness parameters, were classified in category 'B'.
2. Target group:
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, As per Census 2001, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 18.4% of the total population of the country, of which Muslims are 13.4%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.9%, Buddhists 0.8% and Parsis 0.007%. In the six States/UTs, where a minority community is in majority, the other minority, and not the minority in majority, would be the target group.
For development schemes under MsDP, these minority communities are to be the sole target group. Common infrastructure and facilities are to be provided in the areas where they are predominantly located or are expected to avail maximum benefits out of it. The programme aims at socio-economic and infrastructure development in the selected backward districts for improving the quality of life of the people and reducing the imbalances during the Xlth Five Year Plan period. Financial resources are to be made available for creating economic opportunities to supplement and complement existing efforts of the government in such districts.
The baseline survey was conducted in the identified MCDs and blocks for bringing out the following:
(i) A gap analysis of availability of infrastructure like schools, health centres, ICDS centres and drinking water supply.
(ii) A gap analysis of housing and sanitary toilets.
(iii) Identification of income generating activities in which the villagers have comparative advantage.
(iv) A gap analysis of critical linkages like rural roads, ITls, banking facility,
markets, etc., which will provide the missing links that can act as catalyst.
The survey work was conducted by (i) Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata, (ii) Giri Institute for Development Studies (GIDS), Lucknow, (iii) OKD Institute for Social Change and Development, Guwahati, and (iv) Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi; (v) the Aligarh Muslim University and (vi) Jamia Millia Islamia .