14th December, 2022 Social Issues
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- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment criticised the Union government for the delay in approving the continuance of the Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM).
- SPEMM provides financial assistance to madrasas and minority institutes.
- In 2021, the scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Minority Affairs to the Ministry of Education.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee noted that the government has yet to approve the draft Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) memorandum for its continuation.
- The Committee noted that even the NITI Aayog had recommended that the scheme be continued beyond March 31, 2022.
- The committee mentioned that despite the NITI Aayog’s recommendation to continue the scheme, the EFC memorandum was “still under finalisation”.
Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM)
- Department of School Education and Literacy is implementing an Umbrella Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM) which comprises two schemes;
- Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM).
- Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI).
- Both schemes are voluntary.
Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM)
- It aims to bring about qualitative improvement in Madrasas to enable Muslim children to attain the standards of the National education system in formal education subjects.
- Objectives of the SPQEM scheme are:
- To provide financial assistance to traditional institutions like Madrasas to encourage them to introduce Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum.
- To provide opportunities for students to acquire education comparable to the National Education System, especially for secondary and senior secondary levels.
- To strengthen State Madrasa Boards opting for assistance by enabling them to monitor the Madrasa modernization programme and enhance awareness about education among the Muslim community.
- To provide quality components in Madrasas such as remedial teaching, assessment and enhancement of learning outcomes, Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan etc.
- To provide in-service training of teachers appointed under the scheme for teaching modern subjects of Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English to improve their pedagogical skills and quality of teaching.
Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI)
- It was introduced to boost Infrastructure in Private Aided/Unaided Minority Schools/Institutions to enhance the quality of education for minority children.
- Objectives of the IDMI scheme are:
- To facilitate the education of minorities by augmenting and strengthening school infrastructure in Minority Institutions (elementary/ secondary/senior secondary schools) to expand the facilities for formal education to children of minority communities.
- To encourage educational facilities for girls, children with special needs and those who are most deprived educationally amongst the minorities.
Article 30 of the Indian Constitution
- Article 30: Rights of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions.
- Article 30 grants the following rights to minorities, whether religious or linguistic:
- All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
- The compensation amount fixed by the State for the compulsory acquisition of any property of a minority educational institution shall not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed to them.
- In granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by a minority.
- The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).
- However, the term ‘minority’ has not been defined anywhere in the Constitution.
- The right under Article 30 also includes the right of a minority to impart education to its children in its language.
Minority Communities in India
- The Constitution of India does not define the term minority.
- The distinctiveness of a numerically inferior group is certainly recognised as a legal criterion to determine the minority status of any 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 is 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jain 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.
- The Union Government notified minority communities at the national level in consultation with various stakeholders under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Act, 1992.
- The 6 communities notified as minority communities under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act, 1992 are Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains.
- Notification of any community specific to a State as a minority community within a State comes under the purview of the State concerned.
- Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution provide for the protection of the interests of minorities which includes linguistic minorities also.
- The working definition followed by the Commissioner for linguistic minorities is as follows:-
- Linguistic Minorities are groups or collectivizes of individuals residing in the territory of India or any part and having a distinct language or script of their own.
- The language of the minority group need not be one of the 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
- In other words, linguistic minorities at the State level mean any group or groups of people whose mother tongues are different from the principal language of the State, and at the district and taluka/tehsil levels, different from the principal language of the district or taluka/tehsil concerned.
- The interests of linguistic minorities are accorded due consideration and the office of the Commissioner of Linguistic Minorities has been mandated to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities in the country.
- The Government has Constituted National Commission for Minorities under the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992.
- The NCM receives petitions/grievances from the aggrieved persons and the said petitions/grievances being received by Commission are dealt with by calling for reports from the concerned authorities under the Union and State Governments.
- Upon receipt of the reports, the Commission makes appropriate recommendations to the respective authorities for the Redressal of the grievances.
● A Parliamentary Committee is a panel of Members of Parliament (MPs) that are appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker/Chairman and work under the direction of the Speaker/Chairman.
● There are generally two types of Parliamentary Committee —Standing Committees and Ad-hoc committees. The former is permanent and operates continuously (constituted each year or periodically) while the latter is temporary and ceases to exist at the end of the mission assigned to them.