Low access to loans, higher unemployment rates, poor access to food security: Muslims in the state lag behind others on several socio-economic indices, says a new report commissioned by the government’s state minority commission.
The report has blamed communal clashes in the state for the alienation and resultant deprivation of Muslims.
Commissioned by the SNDT University's Economics department, the report was submitted to the commission last week with a slew of recommendations.
Highlighting several problem areas, the report has built a picture of deep deprivation and alienation of the community through detailed statistical analyses of data and anecdotal case studies.
Muslims comprise 10.6% of the 96.8 million people in the state.
“The major reason for the socio-economic deprivation of Muslims is the high incidence of communal riots,” said the report’s overview.
“Absence of civic ties due to ghettoisation creates an insular feeling. Mumbai, which has 15% to 18% of the Muslim population, according to various estimates, is the worst hit.”
Maharashtra has had 1,192 communal clashes between 1998 and 2008, the highest in the country.
Mumbai leads in the number of flare-ups (1908 to 2009), with 83 communal riots, followed by Aurangabad (12), Pune, Nagpur and Malegaon (11 each).
“Massive development intervention among poor Muslims with special focus on inclusive growth is a need of the hour,” the report said.
The report has made several recommendations to address the situation including regular social audits of various schemes, urban housing for Muslims, maintenance of Urdu-medium schools, action against discriminatory housing societies, and skilling and employment opportunities.
“There are government schemes, but they are not reaching the grass-root level because of prejudice among individuals,” said Munaf Hakim, chairperson, state minority commission.