Survey Points to Low Participation of Muslims in Public Programs in India


During 2015, the US India Policy Institute (USIPI) along with its partner organization, CRDDP, New Delhi conducted a knowledge, attitude and utilization survey of Muslim households in 5 states across India to assess participation in government programs.
Preliminary analysis suggests Muslims as a community is in distress.The community has shown lowest participation leading to limited benefits from the government's major flagship poverty alleviation programs. One of the dominant reasons being lack of adequate knowledge of these programs followed by lack of trust emerging from disconnect with the public institutions.
Muslim households are less likely to be enrolled in the Public Distribution System (PDS) that distributes subsidized food grains; almost no participation in mass employment schemes and self-help group (SHG) programs. None of the elderly and widowed women surveyed were found to be receiving the government's popular old-age and widow pensions.
What is concerning is the low participation even in programs specifically designed for the benefit of religious minorities. The study found that 81% of those surveyed between the ages of 15 to 24 years qualified for the government's minority scholarship schemes; yet one half did not apply and only a smaller share of those who applied actually received it.
Although 81% Eligible, Only 16% Receive Minority Scholarships
Source: USIPI/CRDDP Five State Survey of Muslim Community, 2015
It is well documented (Sachar report 2006, Kundu committee report 2014) that Muslims are the most vulnerable socio-religious community in India. USIPI feels that it is critical for the community to strategize and deploy its resources to enhance policy engagement at lower levels such as a district and improve participation in government's schemes and programs.
USIPI jointly with CRDDP has drawn a plan of action to reach out to civil society and community leadership, especially youth and women to focus their efforts in increasing participation in mainstreaming development programs. A position paper that lays out the plan of action under the District Cluster Development Approach along with the methodology for evaluation and assessment of development and welfare programs will be released soon.
USIPI is a Washington, DC based community supported policy think-tank that conducts human development research; engages policy makers; establishes job-oriented Skills Development centers; pursuing Equal Opportunity Commission; and implementing its District Development program. 
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