Ans.: A minority group, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications.
In sociology, a minority group refers to a category of people who experience relative disadvantage as compared to members of a dominant social group.
Louis Wirth defined a minority group as “a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination”.
Socio-Cultural problems of minorities :
1. Problem of Identity:
- Because of the differences in socio-cultural practices, history and backgrounds, minorities have to grapple with the issue of identity
- This give rise to the problem of adjustment with the majority community.
2. Problem of Security
- Different identity and their small number relative to the rest of the society develop feeling of insecurity about their life, assets and well-being.
- This sense of insecurity may get accentuated at times when relations between the majority and the minority communities in a society are strained or not much cordial.
3. Problem Relating to Equity
- The minority community in a society may remain deprived of the benefit of opportunities of development as a result of discrimination.
- Because of the difference in identity, the minority community develops the perception of the sense of inequity.
4. Problem of Communal Tensions and Riots
- Communal tensions and riots have been incessantly increasing since independence.
- Whenever the communal tensions and riots take place for whatever reason, minority interests get threatened
5. Lack of Representation in Civil Service and Politics
- the Constitution provides for equality and equal opportunities to all its citizens including the religious minorities
- the biggest minority community, that is, Muslims have a feeling among them that they are neglected
- However, such a feeling does not seem to exist among the other religious minority communities such as the Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, for they seem to be economically and educationally better than the majority community.
Steps taken to address these issues:
- The global governance network must recognizes that effort to promote and protect the rights of minorities must be multidimensional and engage the entire System.
- Discrimination is often at the root of identity-related tensions. Such tensions have a potential to develop into crises that could ultimately lead to conflict, forced displacement and, in the worst cases, to atrocity crimes, including genocide.
Hence, before these instances develops into a broken window syndrome, these must be allayed as early as possible.
- Their Skills must be upgraded
- Their rich heritage and culture must be preserved .
Government Initiatives in this regard :The Government has taken various steps to improve socio-economic and educational status of minority communities
- Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities, which is an overarching programme covering various schemes/ initiatives of different Ministries/ Departments.
- National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was set up by the Union Government of India in 1992 to protect the existence of minorities all over India.
- USTAAD Scheme aims at upgrading Skills and Training
- Hamari Darohar Scheme
Minority Cyber Gram programme seeks to introduce digital literacy skills in identified minority clusters in India.