Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Muslims poorer than most in Gujarat, says economist

Rajiv Shah, TNN May 17, 2012, 10.51PM IST
GANDHINAGAR: Taking issue with sharp claims of the Gujarat government that Muslims in the state are better off, educationally, socially and economically, than the rest of India, senior economist with the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Delhi, Abusaleh Shariff has said that "poverty among Muslims in Gujarat is eight times (800%) more than high caste Hindus, about 50 per cent more than OBC Hindus and the scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs).
In a study published last month, "Gujarat Shining: Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials", Shariff, who was member-secretary the Prime Minister's Committee to assess the social, economic and educational status of Muslims of India, or Sachar Committee, says, things are not very different for the Muslims in the rural areas. "Rural poverty among the Muslims is two times (200%) more than the high caste Hindus," he says.

gujarat: muslims
An Outlook investigation finds ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ has left the state’s Muslims in an economic ghetto
Medina Warsi’s ageing husband isn’t employed, and for want of any other job, keeps accounts at the tea stall she runs in ‘Bombay Hotel’, a sprawling slum on Ahmedabad’s outskirts. You walk to this area through refuse and rubble. Only Muslims live here, in dwellings bereft of municipal attention. His dubious sinecure keeps Mr Warsi busy for perhaps half an hour a day—the tea stall makes slim profits, Rs 250 on a good day. Yet, visiting neighbours openly gawk at the sum—they earn much less stitching nighties for Re 1 apiece, embroidering shirt collars or rolling bidis. The Warsis’ income, though, isn’t enough to fix the man’s unknown ailment, the one that keeps him unemployed.
Bombay Hotel is 25 minutes from the city’s upmarket western districts, dotted with thousands of atms, business centres and multiplexes, criss-crossed by the best metalled roads in the country. Originally built to house 20,000 people, it now accommodates 90,000 or more, swelling with the 2002 riot-affected and others who arrive looking for work. What they get though is denial. It took multiple years, petitions and court cases to get a primary school approved for the area. Residents wrote letters to authorities demanding a school. One was built, but too far for little children to walk to. Then it was demolished to build a new metro line. More petitions somehow got it rebuilt. There is still no bank or health clinic.

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