Monday, June 6, 2011

Barely 3% Muslims clear IAS exams

Barely 3% Muslims clear IAS exams

Of the 920 candidates who cleared the 2010 Civil Services examination, the number of Muslims on the list is 31 or just 3% of the total number of candidates. In comparison, the community constitutes 13% of the country's population.
The poor representation stands out starkly when compared to the performance of candidates belonging to other similarly disadvantaged groups. The list of successful candidates includes 148 from scheduled caste groups, constituting around 16% of the finalists or roughly the same percentage as their share in the country's population. There are 74 candidates from scheduled tribe groups and at 8%, the percentage of successful candidates once again matches the group's share in the national population.
When former cabinet secretary Zafar Saifullah who was the first and only Muslim to hold the post, cleared the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1958, there were 2 Muslims, including him, in the list of 64 candidates who made it to the service. In the 2009 examinations, 31 of the 791 finalists were from the community  around 4%. The highest ranking Muslim candidate is at number 35, a ranking that will get a posting in the IAS.
According to Qasam Imam, head of Burhani College's Urdu department, there is a lack of awareness about the examinations. “Young people in the community do not get a sense of how important services like IAS and IPS are in the administration,” he said.
To create awareness about the examinations, the Haj Committee in Mumbai set up a centre in 2009 to train Muslim candidates for the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) examinations or what is known as the civil services exam. Places like Delhi and Aligarh have set up such centres in the past.
Saifullah said that it is not lack of enthusiasm that is preventing Muslims from taking their due share in the bureaucratic services. “While the written papers are kept confidential and cannot be accessed for evaluation, there is a scope for prejudice in the viva voce (interviews). It may not be something against particular candidates, but rather a disproportionate favouring of certain kind of candidates,” said Saifullah.
At Mumbai's Haj House, around 30 candidates are preparing for the 2011 examination scheduled in June.
“This is our first fully trained batch. The students face a lot of disadvantages: most come from rural areas, they have a problem with their pronunciation and their family backgrounds are a problem. But despite these handicaps, we are hoping that at least 5 will get through,” said former principal of Anjuman-i-Islam's Akbar Peerbhoy College SAM Hashmi.          

Agency: DNA

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