Educational trusts and societies seeking minority status will now be required to register as NGOs with the NITI Aayog regardless of whether they are seeking government aid or not. The registration with NITI Aayog’s portal Darpan is likely to put all the financial transactions of the trust and its office bearers under the government scanner as crucial details like PAN card and Aadhaar card of all their trustees and office-bearers will be required for the enrollment. Minority status permits the schools and colleges to have a say in reservation quantum and limits interference from the government.
The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), however, said that the rule will not be applicable to institutions run by individuals. “All petitioners are required to submit unique ID of the trust/society as given by the Niti Aayog portal NGO Darpan (it is not needed only in cases of institutions run by individuals),” the new rule said.
As per the requirement, the unique ID should also match corresponding details on the NGO’s website. “While the cases already being heard before the commission will continue to be heard, the minority status certificate will be awarded only after the unique ID is provided by the petitioner,” it added. Since its inception in 2004, the commission has awarded minority status certificates to 12,954 schools and colleges in the country.
The government had last year made it mandatory for NGOs and voluntary organisations to register with the NITI Aayog portal to enable them to apply for grants from any ministry. However, the trusts and NGOs not seeking government funding were not required to do so. The Constitution of India gives linguistic and religious minorities a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. A society or trust consisting of members of a minority community, or even a single member of a minority community, may establish an institution.