Higher Education sector in India has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of Universities/University level Institutions & Colleges since Independence. The number of Universities has increased 34 times from 20 in 1950 to 677 in 2014. The sector boasts of 45 Central Universities of which 40 are under the purview of Ministry of Human Resource Development, 318 State Universities, 185 State Private universities, 129 Deemed to be Universities, 51 Institutions of National Importance (established under Acts of Parliament). (MHRD, 2016)
I would like to focus on Institutions of National Importance (INI). Many well-known Institutions fall under INI, to name few: All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT). IITs, IIMs, NITs have just 3% of total students but get 50% of government funds. (SHARMA, 2018)
To give the reader importance of INI “Data shared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in Parliament recently shows the single biggest chunk of government funds — 26.96 per cent of the total — has gone to the IITs, which have just 1.18 per cent of the students; 17.99 per cent has gone to NITs, where 1.37 per cent of the students study; 3.35 per cent has gone to the IIMs, which have 0.12 per cent of the students and 2.28 per cent of the budget has gone to the IIITs, where 0.05 per cent students study. The remaining 48.9 per cent of the higher education funds have gone to the 865 institutions, which have 97.4 per cent of the country’s students.” (ThePrint, 2018)
In 2008 Sachar Committee report was published, on the condition of Muslims in India, which was commissioned by the then Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh. This extensive report highlighted that the systemic discrimination of the Muslim community has pushed it to be the most backward community in India behind even the scheduled castes and tribes, previously known as untouchables. A wide gap exists between the national average and the Muslim community in terms of access to education, sanitary living conditions, clean drinking water, and wealth, to name a few.
It’s been claimed that Muslim population in India is around 15% and they contribute roughly similar proportion of tax into Indian taxation system. Data has shown the participation of Muslim students in Institutes of National Importance is around ~1% to 4%. This shows that Muslims are unable to take advantage of these highly subsidised institutions in this case INI.
The Alumni’s from INI are usually leaders in their respective fields and if not gone overseas become policy makers and bureaucrats within Indian Institutional systems.
The question to ponder over is: Are Indian Muslims reaping the equal benefits against the tax they are contributing to the Indian government; and by not gaining knowledge from these heavily subsidised, respective institutes (in this case INI) and slipping away in the field of education?
Finally, would Indian Muslim situation in the country had been any different if there were more graduates from INI and the role alumni from these institute would have played in uplifting Indian Muslims in in the contemporary Indian society and beyond?