People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

May 30, 2010





Another Report, No Action Still


G Mamatha


After the findings of the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission, now the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), a central government body, has reconfirmed the deplorable socio-economic conditions of the Muslims in our country.


The NSSO which is attached to the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, in its report titled “Education in India, 2007-08: Participation and Expenditure”, says that of 100 Muslims in the education system, just 10 are enrolled in high school and above. Similar ratio for Scheduled Tribes (STs) is 11, Scheduled Castes (SCs) 12 and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) 14. The Muslims in India are the most backward community on the educational front. Muslims’ ratio in higher education is lower than even Scheduled Tribes (STs), who are considered most backward.


The report also says that high school education among urban Muslims is lower than their counterparts in rural areas. This is despite the fact that urban areas have better educational facilities. According to the NSSO report published on May 19, just seven out of 100 urban Muslims in the education system were enrolled in high school or above as compared to 12 in rural areas.


This is because education in urban areas is highly inaccessible to the poor Muslims who are pre dominantly daily wage contract laborers. They are hardly able to make their both ends meet, leave alone providing education to their children.

Lack of access to education and employment is a major source of frustration for the Muslim youth. The destruction of traditional crafts and industries as a result of the neo-liberal policies pursued by the government, has hit their livelihood further.


The government must remember that even in these adverse circumstances, there is a huge surge of aspiration among the Muslim youth for education. As a clear sign of this desire, candidates from minority communities had applied in overwhelming numbers for educational scholarships offered by the central government last year.  The pre-matriculation, post-matriculation and merit-cum-means scholarships for minorities drew around 3.5 lakh applications in 2007-’08. Last year, the number saw a staggering 14-fold increase to nearly 50 lakh applications. The need of the hour is government intervention, support and reservation to empower them educationally and economically. This is the only way to integrate and uplift the minorities and thus ward off the dangers of their turning into potential breeding grounds for anti social activities.


The recommendations of Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Committee must be implemented in right earnest.  The prime minister’s 15-point programme that was launched in June 2006 with physical and financial targets for minorities in all welfare programmes of the central government is far from being implemented. As the CPI(M) has demanded, the government must formulate a sub-plan for the Muslim community on the lines of the tribal sub-plan.  There has to be a specific budgetary allocation in all development schemes for Muslims proportionate to their population at the all-India level.  Under a special component plan, allocations may be made in the states proportionate to the percentage of Muslims in that state.  Schools, including residential schools imparting modern education for both girls and boys must be built in all districts and blocks with sizable Muslim population. Muslim girls’ hostels must be constructed to facilitate education among girls.  There must be a substantial increase in the number of stipends and scholarships on means cum merit basis.


Unfortunately, the UPA government appears to be not at all bothered by the sufferings of the people and therefore it is difficult to expect them to do anything for their welfare. The absence of Left’s support to the government is clearly being felt. The obsession of the UPA government with the neo-liberal agenda and growth rates is further burdening the lives of the downtrodden sections in our society. All its talk of concern for the aam aadmi is proving to be just glib and nothing else. How so many houses of the dalits, tribals and minorities the ‘prince’ might visit, it would be only of symbolic use unless suitable action is initiated by allocating necessary resources to alleviate their sufferings. Of course, the philosophical moorings of the present rulers will not allow this to happen. This reality will enable the people to see through the hollowness of the tall talk and boastful claims of the government. It is better for the government to remember: anniversaries come and anniversaries go, but people remain.