Diversity index may have to wait

Written by Manoj C G | ManojCG | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 27 2009, 03:41am hrs
The governments plan to devise an index to measure diversity in educational institutions, work and living places one of the key suggestions made by the Justice Rajinder Sachar committee for uplift of Muslims has hit a roadblock with the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) pointing out several flaws in the report of the expert group on the diversity index.

After reviewing the report, submitted last year by the government-appointed five-member expert group headed by Amitabh Kundu, it is learnt that the CSO has said that there are a number of weak points in the formulation of the index. The CSO has said the report does little justice to its objective.

Apart from pointing out that the formulae suggested by the group for measuringdiversity were too generalised, the CSO noted that it was flawed conceptually. The CSO suggested that the index should provide a true picture of the situation in the society. Also, the index should not over simplify the situation only for the convenience of calculation. The CSO has raised several technical queries in the formulae suggested by the expert group for calculating the index, according to sources in the statistics ministry.

Pointing out that using the index suggested by the expert group for measuring diversity in housing and employment spheres could be a statistical challenge, the CSO has asked the minority affairs ministry to construct an index at various micro and macro levels using the available data on a trial basis.

Acting on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, the government had set up the expert group with a mandate to provide a diversity index, on the basis of which incentives can be given for better representation of the community in areas of education, housing and employment.

The committee, after a years work, suggested that an incentive structure should be built into the system so that those making efforts to meet the goal of increasing diversity are rewarded.

It suggested that grants should be given to educational institutions that have higher diversity and are able to sustain it over time, incentives should be provided to public and private sector enterprises and institutions to encourage diversity at work force. The panel had also recommended incentives to builders for housing complexes that have more diverse residents to promote composite living spaces for socio-religious communities.