‘FDI in micro finance will help Muslims’

A. M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 02, 2014

Dejected over the poor implementation of the seven-year-old recommendations of the Sachar Committee report, a group of academics working on socio-development issues have urged the Centre to allow foreign direct investment in skill development and micro finance sectors.

They argue that both the Government and the private sector have so far failed to address the issues of minorities. Abusaleh Shariff, Economist and Member Secretary of the Sachar panel, told Business Line that a number of countries and foreign corporate houses are ready to invest in micro finance and skill development.

“FDI in these two sectors will unleash innovation. It will make changes in the lives of millions of people,” he said.

The academics are in touch with senior Government functionaries, including the Prime Minister, on this issue. Shariff, who has been working on Muslim exclusion, said polytechnic colleges and Industrial Training Institutes failed to give any skill development to those academically poor workers, most of whom are Muslims.

Studies by the group show that hundreds of Women Self Help Groups and co-operative societies created at Muslim-populated areas were denied recognition as the members were only Muslims. “It is a demographic reality. Government and private players failed to address it. A number of West Asian countries are ready to invest in this sector. The Government should change the policy to make this a reality,” Shariff said.

Despite the concrete recommendations from the Sachar panel, lives of Muslims witnessed no measurable improvement. “In fact the employment growth rate of Muslims is zero. The share of employment of Muslims in Government jobs has declined from 60 to 80 per cent,” he claimed.

The academics, under the banner of Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, are holding a brainstorming session with policy makers next week.

Senior Ministers Salman Khurshid, K. Rahman Khan and Shashi Tharoor will attend the programme. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister, will also attend the meeting.

Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said the Government was aware of the investment proposals from abroad on these two sectors.

“We are open to such suggestions. But at the moment we do not have any concrete proposals before us. Once we get such a proposal, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board will take a look at it,” he told Business Line.

Published on January 02, 2014

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