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Representation of Minorities in Civil Services

In view of the controversy over the Rajinder Sachar Committee collecting information about the representation of minorities in the armed forces, it may be recalled that, in the 1980s, the union governmentâ??s high power panel on minorities had collected information which showed the gross under-representation of Muslims in the civil services.

Representation ofMinorities in Civil Services

In view of the controversy over the Rajinder Sachar Committee collecting information about the representation of minorities in the armed forces, it may be recalled that, in the 1980s, the union government’s high power panel on minorities had collected information which showed the gross under-representation of Muslims in the civil services.

SYED NAJIULLAH a percentage of only 3.22, 2.64 and 3.14

respectively, while according to their he recent hullabaloo about the population their representation should be Rajinder Sachar Committee col-about 12 per cent. lecting information about the repre-The Gopal Singh Committee reported sentation of minorities in the armed forces that the representation of the minorities in has deflected attention from the real issue: the all India services till 1980 illustrated whether the minorities are adequately that the percentage of Muslims was far represented in government services. behind their proportion in the population.

In the current controversy, it has been Table 1 provides comparative data on forgotten that there was an earlier govern-Muslims, Christians and Sikhs in the all ment of India committee in the early 1980s, India services. which collected information on the state Table 2 shows the representation of of the minorities. This article presents infor-Muslims in comparison with other minorimation from that all-but-forgotten survey. ties like Sikhs and Christians, according

In 1983, the government of India’s high to data collected by the committee. It is power panel on minorities (chaired by evident from the table that while the rep-Gopal Singh) submitted its report to the resentation of the Sikhs and Christians of ministry of home affairs. The report later 4.71 per cent and 5.64 per cent was more came to be known as Gopal Singh Commit-than their proportion in the population tee report. It threw up some disturbingfacts. of 1.89 and 2.6 per cent respectively, the

The civil services are the most presti-Muslims representation was only gious services in India and the poor Muslim

Table 2: Indian Administrative Service

presence in these services reflects their (Percentage to the total in brackets)pathetic economic conditions. From the

Year Total Muslims Sikhs Christians

list of the officers for all India services it


is clear that while Sikhs and Christians

1971 87 1 (1.14) 4(4.59) 5(5.74)

and other minorities were doing rela

1972 142 1 (0.70) 6(4.85) 4(2.81)tively well in the competitive examina-1973 124 3 (2.41) 5(4.03) 7(5.64)

tions, Muslims, by and large, did not. For 1974 141 1 (0.70) 9(6.38) 4(2.83)

1975 129 2 (1.55) 5(3.87) 7(5.42)

instance, according to the Gopal Singh

1976 138 5 (3.62) 9(6.52) 10(7.24)Committee, 36 years after independence, 1977 158 10(6.32) 4(2.53) 13(8.22)

1978 134 10(7.46) 6(4.47) 13(9.70)

in 1983 there were only 128 Muslims in

1979 117 3 (2.56) 8(6.83) 7(5.98)

the Indian administrative services; in 1980 124 1 (0.80) 5(4.03) 3(2.41)the police service, out of a total of 3,785, Total 1294 37(2.86) 61(4.71) 73(5.64) there were 57 Muslims and there were

Source: Gopal Singh Committee Report on only 45 in forest service which gives them Minorities, 1983, p 31.

Table 1: All India Services

(Percentage to the total in brackets)

Name of Services Total No of Officers No of Muslims No of Christians No of Sikhs

2.86 per cent, whereas their share in the population in 2001 was 12.4 per cent (Census 2001).

The representation of Muslims in the Indian police services was also very low. It was only 2 per cent whereas Sikhs and Christians formed 5.34 per cent and 2.27 per cent of the total respectively for the period of 1971 to 1979 as shown in Table 3.

More recent data shows no change in the situation. Table 4 throws light on the poor representation of the Muslims in the all India services from 1981 to 2000.

Table 3: Indian Police Services

(Percentage to the total brackets)

Year Total Muslim Sikhs Christians Intake

197135 ––– 1972 59 – 3(5.08) – 1973 116 1(0.86) – 1(0.86)1974 75 5(6.66) 12(16.0) 3(4.00) 1975 65 – 12(18.5) 3(4.61)1976 92 – 3(3.26) 2(2.17) 1977 212 6(2.83) 3(1.41) 4(1.88)1978 45 2(2.22) 2(4.44) 3(6.66) 1979 50 2(4.00) 5(10.00) 1(2.00)Total 749 15(2.00) 40(5.34) 17(2.27)

Source: Gopal Singh Committee Report on Minorities, 1983, p 31.

Table 4: Muslims in Indian Administrative Services since 1981

Year Total Muslims Percentage
1981 126 1 0.79
1982 167 5 2.99
1983 235 1 0.43
1984 233 6 2.58
1985 214 4 1.87
1986 216 6 2.78
1987 178 5 2.81
1988 249 1 5 6.02
1989 246 1 3 5.28
1990 298 9 3.02
1991 217 8 3.69
1992 157 3 1.91
1993 147 2 1.36
1994 131 2 1.53
1995 9 1 8 8.79
1996 8 1 3 3.70
1997 7 6 3 3.95
1998 5 5 1 1.82
1999 5 6 2 3.57
2000 9 3 6 6.45
Total 3266 103 3.15

Source: ‘Muslim Representation in the IAS and IPS: An Overview’; Nation and the World, March 2002, cited in Muslim India, No 238, October 2002, p 462.

Table 5: Subordinate Services (Central Government): Representation of Minorities

Religion Pre Cent of No and Per No and Per
Population Cent of Cent of
Applicants Successful

IAS 3975 128 (3.22) 109 (2.74) 165 (4.15) Muslims 11.21 5336(2.59) 83(1.56)IPS 2159 57 (2.64) 49 (2.26) 117 (5.41) Christians 2.60 9502(4.61) 366(3.85)IFS 1433 45 (3.14) 23 (1.60) 44 (3.07) Sikhs 1.89 3643(1.77) 90(2.47) Total 7567 230 (3.04) 181 (2.39) 326 (4.31)

Source: Gopal Singh Committee Report on Source: Gopal Singh Committee Report on Minorities, 1983, p 33. Minorities, 1983, p 33.

Economic and Political Weekly February 25, 2006

Thus, it is clear that while the Muslim population in the country is almost 12 per cent, their representation in the country’s highest services was only 3.15 per cent between 1981 and 2000. Similarly, in the Indian police service, out of the total recruitment of 3,284 officers in the same period, only 120 were Muslims with a percentage of 3.65.1 This is the general trend of Muslim representation in the services all over India with slight variations. There has not been much improvement over the last 20 years.

Subordinate Services

Coming to class III and class IV services, the Gopal Singh Committee’s analysis of the data of the subordinate services examinations, which accounts for most of the recruitment for class III employees in the central government, showed that the percentage of Muslim candidates was about 3 per cent. Analysing further, the proportion of their representation in the registration in the employment exchanges, which accounts for the bulk of the recruitment to the remaining class III and class IV services, it was seen that the percentage of their registration was only 5 per cent. The figures for placement were also the same. They had better representation in class IV services. It worked out to be

9.7 per cent. Thus, the employment of Muslims in the government offices, both central and states varied between 5 per cent and 6 per cent of the total employees. Their representation in class I and class II services was between 3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, while in class III and class IV services it was 5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. Clearly, the overall representation of Muslims in government services was low compared to their proportion in the population.

The sample study conducted by the Gopal Singh Committee, on the results of the examination for recruitment to class III services – clerical cadre in the central secretariat held by the Central Subordinate Services Commission in 1979 showed that Muslims were only 1.56 per cent of the total successful candidates.


Email: snajiullah@yahoo.com


1 Muslim India, ‘Muslim Representation in the

Executive: An Overview’, No 238, October

2002, p 462.

Economic and Political Weekly February 25, 2006

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