In 1987, a list of 41 minority concentration districts was prepared, based on a single criterion of minority population of 20 percent or more in a district based on the data from Census 1971, for enabling focused attention of government programmes and schemes on these districts.
The Multi sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was conceived as a special initiative of the follow up action on the Sachar Committee recommendations. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) approved by the Government in the beginning of the 11thfive Year Plan and launched in the year 2008-09 in 90 Minority Concentrations Districts (MCDs). It is an area development initiative to address the development deficits of minority concentration areas by creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities.
The programme aims at improving the socio-economic conditions of minorities and providing basic amenities to them for improving the quality of life of the people and reducing imbalances in the identified minority concentration areas during the 12th Five Year Plan period. The projects to be taken up under MsDP would be related to the provision of better infrastructure for education, skill development, health, sanitation, pucca housing, roads, drinking water, besides schemes for creating income generating opportunities. The objective of the scheme would be to fill the gaps in the existing schemes of the Govt. of India by providing additional resources and to take up non-gap filling projects (innovative projects) for the welfare of the minorities.
This initiative will be a joint effort of the Centre and the States/UTs for inclusive growth accelerate development process and improve the quality of life of the people. The scheme aims at focused development programmes for backward minority concentration areas to help reduce imbalances and speed up development. The gap filling projects would be implemented with the same guidelines as applicable under the existing scheme of the Govt. of India. The non-gap filling innovative projects would be implemented as per the project design submitted and approved Minorities
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. As per Census 2001, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 18.4% of the total population of the country, of which Muslims are 13.4%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.9%, Buddhists 0.8% and Parsis 0.007%.
Block as the unit of planning:
The unit of planning for implementation of MsDP would be Block instead of district as at present. This would sharpen the focus of the programme on the minority concentration areas as district became a big unit for this purpose. Further, this would also help in covering the deserving minority concentration blocks (MCBs) which are at present lying outside the present MCDs.Blocks with a minimum of 25% minority population falling in the backward districts selected on the basis of backwardness parameters adopted during 11th Five Year Plan, would be identified as the backward Minority Concentration Blocks (MCBs). In case of 6 States (Lakshadweep, Punjab, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Jammu &Kashmir), where a minority community is in majority, a lower cut-off of 15% of minority population, other than that of the minority community in majority in that State/UT, would be adopted. The backwardness parameters adopted for identification of the backward districts (same as the one adopted during 11th Five Year Plan) are:
(a)Religion-specific socio-economic indicators at the district level
(ii)female literacy rate;
(iii)work participation rate; and
(iv)female work participation rate; and
(b)Basic amenities indicators at the district level
(i)percentage of households with pucca walls;
(ii)percentage of households with safe drinking water;
(iii)percentage of households with electricity;
In selected blocks, the village shaving higher minority population would be given priority for creation of the village level infrastructures/assets. Location of the assets should be so selected that the catchment area should have atleast 25% minority population. A total of 710 such minority concentration blocks falling in 155 backward districts have been identified on the basis of data from Census 2001.