The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has registered a 40 per cent increase in the number of Muslims who have cleared the exams this year. A total of 40 Muslim candidates have cleared UPSC examination this year, sources in the ministry of minority affairs said, compared to 28 candidates last year.
In terms of percentage, Muslim candidates have fared slightly better than last year. In 2019, the Muslims constituted almost 4 per cent of the total successful candidates and this year, they constitute about 5 per cent of the total candidates who have cleared the exam.
Muslim candidates have been doing well in the prestigious exams since 2016. Prior to that, they constituted only 2.5% of the total successful candidates. However, Muslim candidates broke all previous records in 2016 when 50 of them qualified for the UPSC, with 10 making it to the top 100. In the 2017 batch, too, 50 Muslims were selected through the exam.
Sources in the minority affairs ministry said that there has been a "progressive improvement in performance of Muslim candidates in the last four years." A member of the minority affairs described it as "a big feat because the number used to remain around 2.5 % until recently."
At least 27 of the total 40 candidates selected in the UPSC are products of Zakat foundation. Notably, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government had increased budget allocation for minority community candidates appearing in the UPSC exam even as it made marginal cuts on educational grant for minorities in the 2019-2020 budget.
The budget for providing free and subsidised coaching for minority candidates was increased from Rs 8 crore in the previous year to Rs 20 crore for the year 2019-20 under the ‘Support for students clearing prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commissions etc’ scheme.