ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reflections on a Recent Report

Socio-economic Status of Muslims in West Bengal

Notwithstanding methodological differences, the findings of successive reports on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in West Bengal show a significant improvement of the community in the state. Muslim majority districts such as Murshidabad and Malda show better performance of some socio-economic indicators like literacy and employment in government jobs than the non-Muslim population among the surveys.

The “Living Reality of Muslims in West Bengal: A Report” published by the Association Social Network for Assistance to People (SNAP 2016) was widely discussed in the media circuit and also a part of the academia at least in West Bengal for highlighting the poor conditions of Muslims in the state. In general, the findings of the report suggest that the Muslims in the state have been living in poor economic and social conditions.

However, it was neither mentioned in the report nor in the media, that after the release of the Sachar Committee report, the Ministry of Minority Affairs of the union government initiated a process for uplifting the conditions of the minorities, specifically the Muslims all over the country, under the aegis of the Minority Concentration District (MCD) project. A total of 90 districts in the country were identified on the basis of backwardness with the minority population greater than 20%. Backwardness was defined with respect to four religion-specific socio-economic indicators (literacy rate, female literacy rate, work participation rate and female work participation rate) and four basic amenities indicators (families with pucca house, safe drinking water, electricity connection and water closet [WC] latrine).

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