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National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 30, Sep 2021
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Why in news?

  • The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended the deadline given to the Centre to nominate persons to all the vacant positions in the National Commission for Minorities by two months.
  • The High Court had earlier directed that the nomination of all the vacant positions be filled on or before July 31 in order to ensure that the commission functions efficiently and the purpose of the commission as envisaged under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 is also fully given effect to.

Constitutional Provisions for Minorities in India:

  • The term ‘Minority’ is not defined in the Constitution. Constitution recognises religious and linguistic minorities through Article 29 and Article 30.
  • Article 29: It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same. Article 29 is applied to both minorities (religious and linguistic) and also majority. It also includes – Right to agitate for the protection of language. Hence political speeches with respect to this is ok.
  • Article 30: All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • Article 30 recognises only to religious and linguistic minorities (not majority). It includes right of minority to impart education to its children in its own language.
  • Article 350-B: Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. However, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution. It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India. It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
  • Currently, the linguistic minorities are identified on a state-wise basis thus determined by the state government whereas religious minorities are determined by the Central Government.
  • Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking guidelines to “identify and define” religious minorities in every State to protect their culture and interests. The petition sought to recognise Hindus as minorities in the States where they are low in population.

Ministry of Minority Affairs:

  • The Ministry of Minority Affairs is entrusted with the work related to improvement of the socio-economic condition of the minority communities through affirmative action and inclusive development efforts, so that every citizen has equal opportunity to participate actively in building a vibrant nation.
  • The Department Personnel & Training does not maintain separate community wise data on recruitment.
  • This Ministry implements various schemes with objective to increase the participation of the disadvantaged/underprivileged children/candidates of notified minority communities and to improve the level of education, participation in employment, skill and entrepreneurship development, reducing deficiencies in civic amenities or infrastructure are implemented by this Ministry.

About National Commission for Minorities (NCM):

  • Ministry of Home Affairs established the National Minorities Commission of India in a resolution on January 12, 1978.
  • Once the National Commission for Minorities Act was enacted in 1992, the Minorities Commission became a statutory body and was renamed as National Commission for Minorities.
  • NCM consist of Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five Members. The five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the minority communities.
  • The act (not Constitution) defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government.

Facts for Prelims:

White giraffe:

The only known white giraffe that has been in the news recently is found in Kenya.

The giraffe is equipped with a GPS tracking device to help protect it from predators.

  1. Leucism, a genetic trait that causes white color in animals.
  2. The only male giraffe is in a dangerous position at risk of poaching.
  3. The GPS tracking device, which is attached to one of the giraffe’s horns, will alert wildlife rangers about its location.

Equivalent levy:

(Equalization Levy)

  1. This tax is based on the principle that a seller in the digital world can engage in business transactions without any physical presence and that governments have a legitimate right to impose such transactions.
  2. Equivalent levy was introduced by the Government of India in the year 2016.

It was imposed on the revenue generated as a result of business-to-business digital advertisements and related services from resident service providers.