• The seven-member National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has only one member left after the retirement of its vice-chairperson while the other 5 posts have been vacant since May 2020.
• Insufficient investigative powers – There is need of strengthening investigative power of NCM to safeguards constitutional and legal rights of minority communities
• Annual reports not tabled – National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992 mandates that the annual report, together with the memorandum of action taken on the recommendations contained therein, as well as the reasons for non-acceptance of the recommendations, if any, be tabled before Parliament annually. These reports have not been tabled in Parliament since 2010.
• Dependence on other institutions – Functioning of NCM and also the operations of state minority commissions are dependent on central and state governments. Its entire work is dependent upon the goodwill of government.
• Overlapping jurisdiction – Growing number of commissions have overlapping mandate, thereby reducing the scope of NCM. For example, the formation of new Commission on Linguistic Minorities cut into the work of NCM, which was restricted to only religious minorities.
• The appointment to commission lacks transparency – there’s no prescribed selection process for making appointments with arbitrarily picking up of names from a list suggested by the nodal ministry.
• Limitation of power – It lack powers to inquire, suo moto, or on a representation presented to it by a member of any of the notified minority communities regarding any atrocities.
• The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
• Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.
• Composition:
o NCM consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five members and all of them shall be from amongst the minority communities.
o Total of 7 persons to be nominated by the Central Government should be from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity. The Ministry for Minority Affairs recommends the names to the Prime Minister’s Office.
o Tenure: Each Member holds office for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office.
• Role and function of National Commission for Minorities: It is a forum for appeal, set up to safeguard the rights and interests of India’s minority communities. The NCM Act lists 9 functions of the Commission:
o To evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and states.
o To monitor the working of safeguards provided in the Constitution and in union and state laws.
o To make recommendations for effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of minority interests.
o To look into, and take up, specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities.
o To conduct studies, research, analysis on socioeconomic and educational development of minorities.
o To suggest appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by central or state governments.
o To make periodic or special reports to the Centre on any matter concerning minorities; especially their difficulties.

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