A new govt. report reveals more startling facts about Muslims in West Bengal

December 3, 2011 by  
Filed under India, Inter-Religious, newsletter-india, West Bengal

Muslims in Westbengal

People geting weekly food relief from Charity Alliance in Ghoshpara, Murshidabad

West Bengal, December 01, 2011: This November, the Sachar Committee Report completed five years of ‘shelf life’. While some debate and more politics on its findings about socio-economic and educational condition of Muslims in the country have been on all these years, a new report has come out with more startling facts about the minority community in West Bengal.

The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), an autonomous body equally funded by both central and West Bengal government, recently published report of its baseline household survey on the state of Muslims in 12 Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) of West Bengal. The CSSSC had conducted the household survey in 2008, two years after the Sachar Report made public, with an aim to build on and supplement, wherever necessary, the findings of the Sachar Report to ensure overall growth and development of the MCDs.

The findings of the CSSSC survey could be categorized under the broad headings of: Basic Amenities; Education; Health; Infrastructure; Occupational conditions; Existence and Efficacy of Government Schemes. But before we go into the detail of the findings about each MCD of West Bengal, let’s have a quick look at the summary of the findings.

Summary of CSSSC findings about West Bengal Muslims

1. Most of the Muslims are far behind in literacy, education
2. Dropout rate higher among Muslims than Non-Muslims
3. Electricity, drainage, sanitation facilities less in Muslim areas than non-Muslim areas
4. Muslims are holding most of kuccha houses.
5. Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) provided home to Muslims in negligible number
6. Vocational training of Tailoring is higher among Muslims
7. Muslims need more Technical School.
8. Muslim females engaged in house more than the Non-Muslims
9. Engagement in professional work: Muslims far behind than Non-Muslim
10. Most of the public hospitals are not located in close proximities
11. Child birth at home higher among Muslims
12. Muslims not aware of government projects in village like SGSY, IAY, NREGS, Swajaldhara etc.

Survey in the MCDs

The MCDs in West Bengal are: Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Bardhaman, Cooch Behar, Haora and Kolkata.

Household survey had not been conducted by the government in West Bengal since long. Throughout the 34 years rule of the Left Front, Muslims demanded such survey, but the state government always rejected. But after the Sachar Report uncovered the truth, the Central Government initiated to conduct the household survey in MCDs of West Bengal. CSSSC was asked to conduct the survey.

The CSSSC team was headed by renowned economist Prof Sugata Marjit while other members were Prof. Partha Chatterjee, Dr. Pranab Kumar Das, Dr. Sohel Firdos, Dr. Saibal Kar and Dr. Surajit C. Mukhopadhyay. The team also sought cooperation from several Central & State Government departments like National Sample Survey Organisation (Kolkata), Minority Affairs & Madrasah Education Department of West Bengal, West Bengal Minorities Development & Finance Corporation besides District Magistrate of each MCD.

The CSSSC survey covered 30-50 villages in each MCD as a pilot project: 30 villages of 10 blocks in Cooch Behar; 30 villages of 17 blocks in Murshidabad; 29 villages of 11 blocks in Malda; 30 villages of 7 blocks in Dakshin Dinajpur; 28 villages of 8 blocks in Uttar Dinajpur; 29 villages of 21 blocks in South 24 Parganas; 30 villages of 18 blocks in North 24 Parganas; 30 villages of 20 blocks in Bardhaman and 30 villages of16 blocks in Birbhum district.

Demography of MCDs

Murshidabad is classified as ‘A’ category district of this project for which both the sets of religion specific socio-economic and basic amenities indicators are below the respective national averages with the values being 35.4 and 17.8. Muslims share 63.72% population (as per Census 2001).

Uttar Dinajpur as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 47.36% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 29.7 and average basic indicator value 9.2. The SC and ST population of the district are 27.71% and 5.11% respectively.

Dakshin Dinajpur as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 24.02% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 44.9 and average basic indicator value 11.6.

Malda is marked as Muslim minority district and belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 49.72% Muslim population and religion specific average indicator value 38.2% and average basic indicator value 16.2%. The minority population is roughly about 51% while the Hindus constitute 49% of the total population.

South 24 Parganas as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 33.24% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 36.6 and average basic indicator value 21.2.

North 24 Parganas as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘B’ (sub-category B1) of the MCD districts with 24.22% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 40.9 and average basic indicator value 47.2.

Birbhum as Muslim minority district and belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 35.08% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 38.7% and average basic indicator value 16.9%.

Nadia as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 25.4% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator
value 35.3 and average basic indicator value 24.

Haorah as Muslim minority district and belongs to category ‘B’ (subcategory B1) of the MCD districts with 24.4% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 41.6 and average basic indicator value 47.4.

Cooch Behar as Muslim minority district belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 23.34% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 40.2 and average basic indicator value 10.49.

Bardhaman is a Muslim minority district for this project and belongs to category ‘A’ of the MCD districts with 20.36% Muslim population and religion specific average socio-economic indicator value 43.2% and average basic indicator value 35.52%.

Basic Amenities in MCDs

As for basic amenities, the CSSSC found Muslim households far below than those of non-Muslims. Whether you talk about in-house toilet, pucca houses or electrification, more Muslim houses have no such facilities compared to the majority community. Not only this, government schemes also bypass Muslims, like Indira Awas Yojna. More non-Muslims have got benefited from the IAY than Muslims, found the survey.

– zaidul haque, tcn

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