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Minority Report Gujarat’s Muslims are better off than those in the rest of the country

Updated: August 3, 2013 4:45 pm

In India, the minority population is merely a vote bank for political parties. In the present scenario, the BJP too has tried its hand to woo them. Perhaps for the first time, Narendra Modi has conveyed his good wishes to the minority community during the holy month of Ramzan. This isindicative of the fact that he be appealing to the Muslim community to vote for BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections. It is a fact that a number of schemes are being implemented by Government of India and state governments for the upliftment of minorities. But nationwide, conditions have not improved. The children of minorities do not get proper education, therefore unemployment is rampant resulting in their involvement in criminal and anti-national activities. It is, therefore, the collective responsibility of all political parties and the government to take them tothe mainstream. According to a report, one fourth of Kerala is Muslim; 30 per cent of West Bengal is Muslim; every fourth person in Assam is Muslim; 30 million Muslims live in UP and some 15 million in Biharand every ninth resident of Karnataka is Muslim. In the coalition era, how can political parties ignore them? No party can rule the country without support of minority communities, be it the Congress or BJP.

The BJP is projecting Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 and is likely to makea formal announcement soon. The BJP intends to encash his rising popularity. In the present time, the SP rules over Uttar Pradesh, which it tookover from Mayavati’s BSP. Political analysts know wellthat without gaining a foothold in UP no party can form the government at the Centre. After the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Modi’s image is that of a “Hindu Hriday Samrat”. Thereafter he is known as a “Vikas Purush”—Man of Development.

As for those, who try to tarnish Modi’s image by blaming him for the injustice perpetrated on the minority community in Gujarat, the condition of Muslims, both on economic and social fronts, is much better than the rest of the country. According to the Sachar Committee Report, the per month per-capita income of Muslims in rural Gujarat is Rs 668. This is Rs 24 higher than the per month per-capita income of Hindus in rural Gujarat (Rs 644), Rs 141 higher than the per month per-capita income of SCs in rural Gujarat (Rs 527), Rs 74 higher than the per month per-capita income of OBCs in rural Gujarat (Rs 594) and Rs 115 higher than the per month per-capita income of Muslims in rural India (Rs 553). While in urban Gujarat per-capita income of Muslims is Rs 875, which is Rs 71 higher than the per-capita income of Muslims in urban India (Rs 804). The Sachar Committee, appointed by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2005, was commissioned to prepare a report on the latest social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India.

According to the India Human Development Report, the percentage of Muslim households in Gujarat with improved sources of drinking water facility is 97.7 percentage, which is 4.6 percentage points higher than that of the overall state average (93.1 per cent) and 4.9 percentage points higher than that of Muslim household in India (92.8 per cent).

Literacy rate for Muslims in Gujarat is 73.5 per cent which is 8.7 per cent higher than the National average literacy rate (64.8 per cent).

Moreover, the Narendra Modi government has spent Rs 11,000 crore on Gujarat’s Sagarkhedu Yojna for comprehensive development of coastal belt of Gujarat, where Muslim fishermen are the major beneficiaries. A new package of Rs 21,000 crores has been declared for this year too.

The leaders of most of opposition parties on different occasions have said that the rest of India cannot become Gujarat. Narendra Modi during his election rallies in different parts of the country will definitely portray the real picture of the condition of the Muslims in Gujarat. While Gujarat’s Muslims perform well, why cannot those of the rest of the country?

This year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has allocated Rs. 3,511 crores to the Minorities Affairs Ministry, an increase of 12 per cent over the last fiscal. The enhanced amount was allocated in spite of the Ministry failing to utilise the funds provided to it in last year’s budget. This shows that Congress government only announces schemes and funds to attract minority votes. In spite of huge amount of allotments for the minority community, they are still economically more backward than other poor classes like SCs and STs at all India level. But in Gujarat, situation is reversed; they (Muslims) are better-off than other backward classes.

During Mayawati’s regime in UP, she demanded reservations for Muslims in accordance to the percentage of their population. After becoming the Chief Minister for the first time in 1995, she had made the provision of issuing certificates to Muslims under other backward classes (OBC) category for public services. Thirty-eight economically and socially backward classes among Muslims are getting the benefit of the OBC quota in UP. Her government provided scholarships to Muslim students and established Kanshiram Urdu, Arabic, Persian University. Further, Muslim girl students were included in Savitri Bai Phule scheme for promoting girl child
education, in which every girl student of class XI is awarded Rs 25,000 and a bicycle.

The Akhilesh government in Uttar Pradesh will spend Rs 1,800 crores on development programmes in the minority-dominated pockets during 2013-14. The minority community wants to walk with other forward castes in sectors of education, health, employment etc. The central government and UP government have only provided them subsidies, they have not fulfilled their actual requirements and have used them as vote bank.

The people of Uttar Pradesh are facing the worst law and order situation. The SP and BSP cannot fulfill the dreams of the people of that state. Modi can replicate Gujarat’s example of good law & order and progress in industries and agriculture sectors. It is high time to end the caste-based politics. During the forthcoming general election 2014, the voters have to choose their candidate and parties carefully in the interest of the whole country.

 By Madhuri Shukla from Ahmedabad

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