Friday, May 27, 2011

Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill

Download a draft copy of - Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011.

Any comments, suggestions, revisions, and objections received before June 10, 2011 will be forwarded to the NAC sub group for consideration - send comments directly to the NAC and mark a copy to

Indian Caste Census-2011

How will it affect the Muslims?

A Cabinet press release titled ‘Methodology for conducting the Below Poverty Line Census and Enumeration of Castes’, dated 19-May, 2011 has set December 2011 as the target date to complete the census exercise. This hybrid Census of the BPL and the Caste would be conducted by the Ministry of Rural Development in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) and the Registrar General of India (RGI) and expected to be completed by December 2011. However, the so called methodology for the caste census is only a single line statement – ‘The enumeration of castes will also be done simultaneously along with the BPL census’.

The announcement about the BPL census is welcome, although there are many methodological controversies in terms of a methodology and variables which will be used to identify the poor. What is underplayed and not adequately highlighted in this cabinet note is the fact that the Caste Census will be undertaken for the first time since the Independence. Such data are likely to be used in determining and revising the cast and class linked quotas in national and state government jobs, admissions in educational institutions such as in colleges and universities and access to targeted social services. The caste census is being conducted without adequate methodological and analytical preparedness and since caste, class and religious identities have complex inter-relationships there will be ramifications which will be difficult to resolve in future. In the following therefore, is a brief discussion as to how will the caste census affect the Muslim community of India.

Muslims in India is a highly diverse community; while adopting the diversity emerging from the Islamic religion such as the Sunni, Shia, Bhora, Agakhani and so on; many also carried along the respective identity from the Hindu caste system even after their conversion. The social structure, therefore, amongst the Muslims is complex, and it further gets accentuated by cultural difference emanating from language and region/state of domical. For example, only about 40% of Muslims report Urdu as mother tongue. There are millions of Muslims who speak Bengali, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and so on as their mother tongue. Of course due to dominance of Urdu in the northern parts of India especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Muslims do not report Hindi as their mother tongue and they intend to do so in future as well. Muslims besides being highly diverse are experiencing uniformly deep levels of deprivation in various social, educational and economic facets of life across all the states in India.

The collection of caste data has emerged from certain political corners and is expected to provide structured information so as to allocate or enhance respective shares in reservations for the SCs, the STs and the OBCs. The Indian Caste Census (ICC-2011) is likely to trigger a drive for Indian citizens of all castes and communities to get enrolled into deprived categorizations and this process can be labled as Competitive Backwardness. In case of Muslims there is an inherent complication; in spite of the presence of dalit type identity (being converts from erstwhile Hindu dalits) and their desire to report as such, the census enumerators may not recognize such reporting due to the ‘Census Filtering Procedures’ adopted during the canvassing. Since constitutionally there is a pre-existing- codified list for the SCs and STs, the ICC-2011 will use it. The procedures will authenticate the categorization as the SCs only when the reported religion is Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist. Therefore, all those Muslims who have dalit type identities will be excluded from being identified as the SCs. Similar situation may occur in case of Christians as well. Note also that there is a pending case of judgment in this regard in the Supreme Court of India.

The Census will also collect data on selected economic and education indicators and asset ownership so as to categorize households / people into the ‘below poverty line’ or ‘above poverty line’ status. Such data along with religion and caste are expected to be used to compute the relative backwardness or forwardness of a caste group; which will have ramifications in determining the eligibility to jobs and higher level educational admissions under the quota system. In the following is a discussion as how the misclassified Caste data will not only be detrimental to the social, economic and educational development of the Muslim community in India; but also becomes stumbling block in the efforts of mainstreaming of the Muslims community in Indian economic and social spaces.

As mentioned earlier a pre-determined list will be used to identify the SCs and STs for any given geographic or administrative area; as they have guarantee and authentication under the seal of the Indian constitution since the Independence. The OBC categorisation on the other hand, is a post-Mandal scheme and supported only through government orders. The demands for ICC-2011 were made by caste groups which can be grouped as the OBCs (other backward classes). Will the ICC-2011 be based on Mandal Commission list of OBCs? The Census Commissioner during a meeting recently clarified that the Mandal Commission list will not be used during the ICC-2011. However, it will be helpful if at the outset central and independent state level lists of the OBCs are finalized and used before canvassing the ICC-2011.

Lessons can be drawn from the OBC reporting status during the NSS surveys collected annually. The NSSO 61 round data for the reference year 2004-5 suggests that only about 26% of all Hindus are considered as the High Castes or socio-economically better offs; whereas, about 60% of Muslims fall into the non-OBC and thus socio-economically better off category. This is because none from the Muslims are classified under the SCs/STs category and all such Muslims with the SC / ST identity could actually be listed as the high castes / class. This is a serious problem and an anomaly which must be addressed before any major effort to collect castes data in India.
Caste / Class Classification and Proportions of Hindus and Muslims in India
(Estimates from NSS Surveys)

Religion-------SCs+STs-------OBCs-------All Others /(High Caste/Class)
Source: Extracts from the Sachar Report

What should be done?

In view of these facts it is recommended:
1. That the Cast Census should be undertaken only after the pending Supreme Court judgment in the matter of the recognition of the presence of ‘dalit’ type identities amongst the Muslims and Christens in India is decided.

2. Now that the ICC-2011 is announced and a certainty beginning June-2011, the Muslims who intend to report their castes as dalits / SCs / STs, should do as they wish. The ICC-2011 enumerators should be instructed to collect this information as reported and not to filter out caste reporting linked to religion. Note that, practically all Muslims in India are converts and are hardly any original Muslims who migrated from out of erstwhile Indian territory now reside in India. Further, it is historically documented that most of those converted to Islam belong to low castes such as the dalits and the tribes. The ‘Sachar Committee’ (2006) on status of Muslims in India has also clearly revealed the distressing socio-economic and educational conditions of Muslims which are closer to the levels recorded for the SCs and STs belonging to the Hindu Community.

3. It will be almost impossible to prepare a list of Muslim caste/class for classifying them as Muslim-OBCs. Therefore, a ‘list of exclusion’ can be prepared so as to determine the social forwardness or backwardness of a large section of Muslims who are not reported themselves as the SC or ST. Such list of exclusion can be prepared for each state separately after consultations with the state level Muslim intellectuals and religious bodies. Thus, once a list of exclusion is prepared, all other Muslims who do not belong to this list can be identified as the “Muslim OBCs”.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

'The Muslims Political Awakening

'The Muslims have awakened' | » News »
May 21, 2011 01:33 IST

In the recently-concluded state elections, a new alarming trend has come to the fore. In Assam and Kerala, it looks like the Muslim community's votes have polarised towards religious outfits.The All India United Democratic Front in Assam and The Muslim League in Kerala secured good number of votes, leaving analysts to conclude that the Muslim electorate voted towards Muslim-oriented outfits.

In this interview with, member-secretary of the Rajinder Sachar Committee on the status of Muslims, Abusaleh Shariff explains the trend, its reasons and ways to reverse it.

Interviewed by Sahim Salim in New Delhi

In the recently concluded elections, Muslims seem to have voted along community lines in two states. Can you elaborate on this developement?
A. Well, it has been happening for a long time in Kerala. The Muslim League has been in existence since independence, so it has a historical legacy. Some political parties may not like the fact that it has the word 'Muslim' in it, but it is a recognised political party.
On the outset, I want to state that I am happy with the fact that the Muslims have awakened. I reiterate, awakened. I am aware through election results analysts that the share of Muslim electorate has been diminishing over the history of elections in India.
This means that Muslims were going out of the mainstream political system. This was not a good sign for the Muslims and the democracy because Muslims are the largest minority.
In these state elections, the emergence of the Muslim electorate is a good sign. I want more and more Muslims to come out in large numbers to exercise their democratic rights. That they are being polarised is another story.

Can this development be categorised as a trend?
Yes, it could be. I will tell you why. Mamta Bannerjee won in West Bengal and she was wholeheartedly supported by the Muslims in the state. Now if Mamta's policies do not include Muslims in it, then another Muslim oriented party can spring up there, which will then polarise on the Muslim vote-bank in the state.

In a secular and heterogeneous democracy such as ours, what is the meaning of such a development?
My democratic vision for this secular country is that Muslims should not be polarised in such a manner. They should be included and they should participate in mainstream politics.
I don't want a separate school, a separate minority development corporation etc. These are all notional; they don't produce any welfare products; it is just a waste of money. The government sustains these kind of institutions because of pressure. They only feed a handful of influential people.

What do you think are the reasons for Muslims to vote in favor of religious parties in Kerala and Assam?
When the mainstream political parties do not ask the Muslim community to be a part of the mainstream political system, then they don't get to exercise their identity. After all, being a Muslim is an identity.
In spite of the Sachar Committee report that came out five years ago, neither the state nor the central governments have taken it seriously. They have not addressed the problem of exclusion of Muslims in public spaces.
That is the reason why there is relatively more polarisation towards Muslim-oriented parties. Muslims think that through these parties, politically at least, they can make a claim in lieu of capacity to influence policies.
When I was in the Sachar Committee, what I noticed was that in most of the public spaces created by the system, Muslims were not getting their share. Every chapter in the committee report says that they are not a part of these spaces as much as they should be. So what is the solution for that?
They created special purpose vehicles for Muslims, which I am not for. I want a share for the Muslims in the mainstream institutions, which has declined over a period of time. The mainstream political parties should make spaces for them within the party. It will be easier for political decision making.

Do you think that the so-called religious political parties will truly represent Muslims' demands in mainstream politics?
Look, this is not a religious-oriented civil society. They are political parties and will have to participate in the nation building. But the point is that India constitutes of 1.3 billion people, out of which 1 billion are Hindus.
Unfortunately, despite the cultural divides amongst the Hindus, the Bharatiya Janata Party has put a seed of divide between Hindus and Muslims. This kind of polarisation is a result of what the BJP did 20 years ago. Although the BJP is trying to mellow down, the Muslim community is reacting.
See, through these religious parties, what the Muslim communities hope to achieve is representation in the mainstream. But unfortunately, in that case, what happens is that these demands will be made in a religious oriented manner, which is not healthy in a democratic setup.
Do you think these religious parties are just banking on religious votes, rather than in reality having a religious agenda?
I am not sure of that. But I think that we Muslims, being from the minority, have a strong desire to protect our identity. I don't call that a Muslim agenda, but rather an agenda to protect our identity. We need a place in nation building too.

Mainstream secular political parties have tried to woo Muslim votes in both states. Does this mean that the current policies and approaches adopted by these parties have failed?
What you have to understand is that the mainstream political parties have worked very hard to win their elections. Whether you like it or not, democracy is about numbers.
I am aware of the compulsion of mainstream parties to bring winning candidates. But my point is that they should use other institutions like delimitation commission.
For example in West Bengal, there will be 100 constituencies where Muslims might have a winning edge. Identity politics also works in secular parties, but these constituencies will also have Hindus, so in a secular party, even if the candidate is a Muslim, you will get Hindu votes as well.
The elected representative is going to be the leader of the Hindus and Muslims in the area. That is where inclusion comes. A Muslim getting elected should not be seen as a Muslim leader, but rather a leader.
Dr Manmohan Singh is seen as a leader and not a Sikh leader. Similarly, Muslims standing up to represent a constituency should not be labeled a religious leader.

This development, in itself, is alarming. How can we reverse such a development keeping the secular idea of the state in mind?
I won't call it alarming. But yes, voting based on identity and community is bad. Mainstream is the answer. Negotiation and partnership should be included.
Do you know why Muslim vote was polarised in Assam? The Congress leaders did not even allow Muslims to come near them for partnership. In Kerala, Muslim League fractions came together, so Muslim vote got consolidated.
My argument is not against the Muslims or Muslim parties. I ask of the government to change policies. They should open up public spaces for Muslims. It is because they have not, that Muslim polarisation is taking place.

What do you think are the key issues that Muslims want represented, which are not being focused on by secularist political parties?
Political empowerment. In 2006, Sachar Committee brought the fact that Muslims are not participating as much as they should in public spaces. The Sachar Committee told the government that more political representation is needed atleast at the grass-root level.
Don't make them members of Parliament and members of legislative assembly. Make them part of the Panchayat and Municipality atleast.
We need these small changes because these are the ways that we interpret what matters. In Sachar Committee report, it is highlighted that in Muslim concentrated areas, schools are less.
So where do they go, other that Madrassas? When we talk of welfare of Muslims, they talk of Madrassa reforms. Why Madrassa reforms, I ask, why not schools?

Friday, May 20, 2011

NDTV Video on Skills and Employment

Use this link for a Video on Employment and Skill development in India

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TOI-report on Recent Elections

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gujarat Shining Story?

Gujarat is one of the large states in India known for sustained levels of development. ‘Gujarties’ the people of Gujarat so identified - rings a bell! in imagination as enterprising people with an edge to manage and invest money in businesses and enhance savings. These Gujarati attributes are not new, rather age old; and developed over centuries especially due to their easy contact with the travelling business men from all over the world at the Indian west-coast. No wonder then that Gujarat is one of the few states where income earning opportunities have always been better and praiseworthy. Notwithstanding, such a relative advantage in income growth, it is useful to review how Gujarat is faring in other measures of standard of living such as poverty, human development, hunger and so on. Further, it is also instructive to review as to how various socio-religious communities living in Gujarat are placed in a relative perspective and are they getting the benefit of higher growth experience in Gujarat.

Multiple data especially those from the National Accounts (NAS), The Reserve Bank of India, National Sample Survey Organization, the Human Development Survey of the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee (Sachar Committee) report are used in this analysis. The FDI information according to main centers of investments is drawn from ministries of Commerce and industry. This review explores, firstly the relative development of Gujarat, followed by the Socio-religious differentials in standard of living within the State.

Per Capita Net State Domestic Product (PCNSDP): Per capita SDP or income is used as an indicator and measure of economic prosperity. Gujarat is a well-off State, figuring among the top ten in terms of per capita State Domestic Product since long. A review of triennium averages in constant prices since the 1970s suggest that Gujarat has been occupying 6th or 7th positions most of the last four decade excepting mid-1996 when it was at the 4th position. For the year 2007-08 and in terms of current prices, Gujarat had an income of Rs. 45, 773, but Haryana with an annual per capita income of Rs. 59,008 tops the list followed by Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are a notch below in the vicinity of Gujarat competing to climb up. Note that the relative ranking can also change with a lacklustre performance of other states as opposed to a better performance of a state under review. Overall the economic status of Gujarat has been stable and relatively on the higher side at least since last four decades. Thus the Gujarat growth story measured in terms of macro economic indicator is not new; rather it is an old one. It is now worthwhile to investigate the state performance in qualitative dimensions such as poverty, hunger, human development and social equity.

Hunger: Gujarat surprisingly emerges as a State with high levels of hunger , while simultaneously boasting high per capita income and consistent income stability. Disturbingly Gujarat's hunger levels are high alongside Orissa and Bihar, with only Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh having higher hunger levels. Punjab, Kerala and Haryana (in whose league Gujarat was placed in terms of per capita NSDP), are very progressive measured by levels of hunger having least hungry population. Even Uttar Pradesh has registered lower levels of hunger compared with Gujarat. This paradox, for example, is explained by the fact that state such as Uttar Pradesh has vast areas under multi-cropping cultivation cycle with the blessing of the perennial supply of water from the mighty river Gaga. This ensures that in spite of UP’s population being poor, they are at least minimally fed. Incomes are more evenly spread in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh in fact fares a notch above even Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in having lower hunger; but Gujarat is much above all these states in having relatively higher incidence of hunger. Further Rajasthan has also recorded lower levels of hunger compared to Gujarat and this appears to be due to pro-poor state policies. Therefore, this analysis gives credence to the fact that Gujarat is a state where the rich-poor disparities are far greater relatively speaking.

Income, Poverty and Human Development Linkages: Generally one finds a positive association between income and poverty (lower poverty), and human development (higher); and that the association with the latter being much stronger. Higher position in human development ranking relative to poverty is an evidence of pro-people welfare state. One finds such an association in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and even Orissa, which has higher HDI ranking compared with respective ranking in per capita income and poverty about the second half of 2000s in the ranking undertaken for 19 major states. On the other hand Gujarat has recorded relatively lower level of human development ranking compared with its poverty ranking – while in latter 2000s it tops at 6th level in income, but is places one level lower in poverty (that is higher poverty relative to income) but ranked 9th in HDI, far too low which is unexpected. The higher income levels must yield better human development, generally speaking as people will be in a better position to make investments in education, health and wellbeing. Orissa which reveals high levels of poverty performs better on the HDI; in fact it shows resilience in improving HDI at its own level of development and poverty. Further, one notice that the relative ranking of Gujarat in incidence of poverty and human development has declined between the mid 1990s and latter part of 2000s.

When the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was evaluated, Gujarat is found to be the bottom of the list of large Indian states. In fact Rajasthan is at the top, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

Levels of Foreign Direct Investments
Recent reports place Gujarat as a favorite destination of the ‘foreign direct investments (FDI). There is a considerable hype about such investments and reports that large amounts of foreign, often NRI linked, investments in Gujarat abound. A review of the past performance of the FDIs does not support such a finding. The region / state specific FDI data provided by the ‘department of industrial policy and development’ suggests that the size of cumulative inflows from January 2000 to March 2010 has been highest in Maharashtra with 1.75 lakh crores, followed by New Delhi at 1.02 lakh crore. Even the state of Karnataka has received 31 thousand crores which is higher than the FDI in Gujarat only with 28 thousand crores. The FDI line up continues with Tamil Nadu, (Rs. 25 thousand crores), Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 21 thousand crores) and Kolkata having received a meager 6 thousand crores.

Thus Gujarat is a game for playing the “the politics of development” and no one is caring to assess if such tall claims have any truth behind them. Hype and hoopla built around foreign direct investment (FDI) in Gujarat is a lie. Gujarat can be considered a hunting ground "for NRI and corporate politics", and that "the FDI hype" is designed to facilitate tax subsidies, cheap licensing, under-priced land and low royalty payments to the investors. Often the politics works in such a way that Gujarat is used as a platform for corporate negotiations and investments in other states. Investments announced in Gujarat appear largely promises, as the real amount invested is found to be a fraction of the amount promised due to practical reasons.
Nonetheless, Gujarat does have some positive features; over 90 percent paved roads to villages, 98 percent electrified villages with 80 percent electrified homes and 18 hours of electricity everyday, 86 percent piped water supply and better phone connections, banks, post offices, bus connection compared to other states. Agricultural extension work, too, is better than in other states. But amid all this, poverty, hunger and lack of sense of security thrive.

The large scale representative sample data available from the NSSO and the NCAER’s human development surveys and information from the Sachar Committee report are used to assess poverty and human development amongst the socio-religious groups within Gujarat with a focus on Muslims. Poverty amongst the urban Muslims is eight times (800%) more than high-caste Hindus, about 50% more than the Hindu-OBCs and the SCs/STs. Note that over 60% of all Gujarati Muslims live in urban areas and they are most deprived social group in Gujarat. On the other hand rural poverty amongst the Muslims is two times (200%) more than high caste Hindus. Gujarat unlike a few other large states has not provided any specified quota in employment and higher education for the Muslims. While Muslims have bank accounts proportionate to the size of population, the bank loan amount outstanding which is an indicator of financial inclusion is only 2.6 percent. Muslims are also found to be soft targets for petty thefts and harassment of girls compared to other communities.

Education: Educationally Muslims are the most deprived community in Gujarat. Despite 75% net enrolment, about similar levels compared with the SCs/STs and other groups; the Muslims are deprived at the level of matriculation and higher levels. A mere 26% reach matriculation whereas this proportion for 'others except SCs/ STs is 41%. The SCs/STs fare about the same on this count. Amongst the Muslims a large dropout takes place at about 5th standard. A disturbing trend was noticed in case of education at the level of graduation. Muslims, who had about the same level of education in the past, are found to have left behind compared with even the SCs/STs who have caught up with higher education. Startling is the fact that the in recent years it is high caste Hindus who have benefitted most from the public provisioning of higher education and the SCs/STs are catching up and the Muslims are left behind. The disparity in access to higher education is increasing over time. This clearly is an evidence of discrimination in provisioning of higher education access, infrastructure and related services.
To overcome the Muslim deficit in different levels of education, the central government has launched a nationwide scholarship scheme with effect from April 1, 2008. All states have responded favorably, with the only exception of Gujarat which has not implemented even the pre-matric scholarships for minorities. There are 55,000 scholarships allocated to Gujarat of which 53,000 are to be given to the deserving Muslims, but Gujarat not even cared to implement this program.

Employment: The work participation rate is a common measure of employment; in Gujarat, this is 10% lower for Muslims at 61% compared to the Hindus who have a ratio of 71%. Gujarat has higher unemployment rates for Muslims compared to say West Bengal. Importantly, the Muslims traditionally are artisan and skilled workers, have relative advantage in handling mechanical and tool work; therefore they are employed as industrial labour in considerable proportion in manufacturing and organized industry. In most States, Muslims form a higher percentage of the workforce in manufacturing and the organised sector compared to Hindus and it is only in Gujarat, the reverse is true.

Manufacturing and organised sector including public employment: There was a time when Muslims dominated the state's textile industry in power loams, textile mills and handlooms; and in diamond cutting and polishing industry not to speak of chemical, pharmaceutical and processing industries. But now Muslims barely make it to the workforce in the manufacturing and organized sector in Gujarat. While at an all-India level, Muslims share in this sector is 21%, in Gujarat it is merely 13, much lesser than Maharashtra at 25 and West Bengal at 21. Note that Muslims generally have better employment amongst the state level public sector enterprises across India. It is only in Gujarat that Muslims not have access to organized and public sector (including PUSs) employment when compared to other communities and other states of India. This finding was counter-checked by a second set of data in a multivariate analysis. The fact that Muslims do not draw income from the formal organized (including public employment) sectors is negative, large and highly significant; this is the only community which records this negative and significant coefficients. Generally, there is a reference to the Sachar report pointing to the fact that Muslims are indeed present in substantial proportion (compared with other states such as West Bengal, UP etc) in government employment in Gujarat. Yes this is so and it may be noted that such employment has taken placed during the last 5 decades or so, these are not recent appointments. Gujarat government must come forward to publish figures as to how many Muslims have been appointed in government employment during the last 5-10 years in employment categories such as group A to group D and in the state PSUs.
Petty Trade and Self-Employment: Gujarat also shows a wider gap between Muslims and Hindus in petty trade and self-employment. Fifty-four per cent of Muslims as opposed to 39 per cent of Hindus are self-employed in the State. The gap is much lower in West Bengal, where 53 per cent of Muslims are self-employed as against 45 per cent of Hindus. Compared to other States and compared to Hindus, larger share of Muslims in Gujarat are self-employed or undertake petty trade. This disparity is compounded by the fact that compared to other sectors; self-employment and petty trade has shown only a marginal income growth during the last two decades in comparison to other sectors of the economy. Further, at least in Gujarat the FDIs and public investments are channelled into the organized sector where Muslims do not get employed - thus metaphorically speaking, Muslims in Gujarat face a situation - ‘between the hard rock and the sea’.

Safety and Security: The human development survey of the NCAER canvassed a few questions which relate to the safety and security of citizens. All respondents were asked to assess the condition of village and neighborhood conflict. Further, any experience and occurrence of ‘theft/burglary’ and ‘harassment of adolescent girls’ was also recorded for the reference year.
It is instructive to note Gujarat is one of those high village/neighborhood conflict states, next only to Uttar Pradesh (82 percent) and Uttrakhand; but on par with West Bengal at 63%. However, since this is a societal level factor, the inter-community differentials were found to be low – which means irrespective of the community one belongs to, they had similar exposure to neighborhood/village conflict which is rather very high in Gujarat.

But one notices considerably large inter-community variation in the household experience in theft/burglary and particularly the Muslim households in rural Gujarat with a very high share of (35%) households reporting such occurrence, while their share of households was only 5%. All other communities have reported lower levels. In urban areas also this share was 13% compared with only 11% households. While information on who are the performers of such crimes is not available, what is important to highlight is the fact that Muslims are easy targets and are vulnerable for such crimes in the rural areas of Gujarat. In case of the occurrence of harassment and threat of girls, 17% urban Muslims households reported such an occurrence which is considerably higher relative to their share in the households. The only other community having higher share of harassment of girls is the SCs in rural areas - with 34% households reporting 39% of such events.

Conclusions: Gujarat indeed is one of the richer states always in league with the top ten state of India in terms of per capita national state domestic product. But if alternative measures are evaluated which reflect hunger, social development and human development, relatively speaking Gujarat is underperformer. Further, within the state, when socio-religious group differentials are assessed one finds deep-rooted poverty and income inequality amongst Gujarat’s lower castes and Muslims relative to other groups. The latter, in particular, fare poorly on parameters of poverty, hunger, education and vulnerability on security issues; nowhere benefiting from the feel good growth story painted by the current governance of the state.
There indeed exists a deep-rooted poverty and income inequality in Gujarat. Putting the Muslim situation in this larger framework, the empirical evidence suggests that relative to other states and relative to other communities, Muslims in Gujarat are facing high levels of discrimination and deprivation.


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) online database ( ).

Government of India (2009), “Report of the Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Estimation of Poverty", Planning Commission, New Delhi.

Abusaleh Shariff (2009),”Hunger and Malnutrition in India: Concepts and Indexing”, IFPRI/NCAER, Mimio.

United Nations Development Programme (2010), “HUMAN Development Report”, UNDP, Palgrave Macmillan.

Sonal Desai, Amaresh Dubey, B.L. Joshi, Mitali Sen, Abusaleh Shariff and Reeve Vannaman, (2010) India Human Development Report: at the Beginning of the Millennium, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Abusaleh Shariff and Maithreyi Krishnaraj eds, (2007), State, Markets and Human Development, New Delhi: Orient Longman Press, PP i-xxiv,784.

Government of India (2006). Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India, a report of the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee, New Delhi: Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, November 2006; i-xx, PP 404.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bina Roy memorial Lecture

May 14, 2011 : Gave Dr. Bina Roy memorial Lecture on 'Gender Empowerment : Evidence and Policy', organised by University Women's Association of Delhi, Platinum Jubilee hall at 6, Bhagwan Das Road, New Delhi - 110 001.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

FRONTLINE : May. 07-20, 2011 on Gujarat

Volume 28 - Issue 10 :: May. 07-20, 2011
Vol:28 Iss:10 URL:

Haunted by the past
ON April 22, 2011, the ladies' wing of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a women entrepreneurs' exhibition in Surat, where Hindi film actor Sherlyn Chopra was one of the guests. Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, the actor gushed that Chief Minister “Narendra Modi is the most dynamic person” she had “ever met”, and “given a chance” she “would like to be his personal assistant”. Sherlyn Chopra went on to add that Modi spoke with style and confidence and that he spoke all the time about progress and a shining India.
Other Modi fans, including many in the blogosphere, picked up the actor's statement to come up with laudatory comments highlighting how a range of personalities from different strata of society, from anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare to actor Sherlyn Chopra, were endorsing Modi, his politics and his style of functioning. The thematic premise of all this commendation was “Modi's commitment to progress and development”.
However, news that emerged that evening from New Delhi once again drew attention to certain areas of Modi's political personality that go beyond “commitment to progress and development”. The news was about the affidavit filed by a senior Gujarat police officer, Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, in the Supreme Court, accusing Modi of instigating Hindus in 2002 to “teach a lesson” to Muslims. This instigation, the affidavit asserted, preceded the genocide of Muslims in the State. Naturally, this served to bring down the excitement Chopra's praise generated.

MOBS ON THE rampage in a street in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.
This sequence of events, which unfolded over a period of around eight hours, signified a roller coaster of sorts for the Modi image. This is not the first time Modi has found himself in such a situation. Time and again, the Gujarat Chief Minister and his supporters have sought to underplay or even obliterate his association with the 2002 carnage and present him as the “leader who created a new, progress-oriented Gujarat, which is waiting to be replicated at the national level under his consummate leadership”. Such has been the force of the campaign that it packs sustained assertions that even large sections of the Muslim minority community are now Modi supporters on account of his development initiatives.
It is not as though this campaign has not had its successes. It has indeed spread far and wide, particularly among a section of the urban middle class. Despite all that, Modi's role in the 2002 carnage has come back to haunt him and his Hindutva-oriented political organisation repeatedly in one forum or the other. The unambiguous message from each of these episodes has been that Modi and his party will find it impossible to live down the Gujarat carnage however much they may try.
In fact, references to the carnage have come up most forcefully when Modi and his supporters have sought to advance the “development man” image aggressively. The BJP's National Executive meeting held in Patna in June 2010 is a case in point. A number of his close supporters had earmarked this conclave as the starting point of an aggressive campaign to project him as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). As part of this campaign, advertisements were placed in several newspapers in Bihar extolling Modi's governance skills and personal virtues. These hailed him as a model administrator whose record in Gujarat was worthy of emulation in Bihar and the rest of the country. The message was clear: here is your future Prime Minister.
One advertisement made a special reference to Gujarat's contribution towards relief work for the victims of the floods in the Kosi river and went on to suggest that Modi had taken care to wipe Bihar's tears too when the State suffered.
Another full page advertisement had the picture of Muslim girls in burqas working on computers and the slogan that the Muslim community in Gujarat was advancing much faster than in other parts of India. Barely a day after the publication of the advertisement, it was revealed that the picture was actually taken from a college in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.
IN A REFUGEE camp at Bapu Nagar in Ahmedabad in March 2002.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made his displeasure clear at what was going on. He perceived the advertisement relating to the Kosi floods as a direct affront and a challenge to his own administrative skills. As regards the advertisement with the picture of Muslim girls, he lampooned it as a third-rate gimmick. The Janata Dal (United) leader even went to the extent of cancelling the dinner he had planned in honour of his NDA ally's leadership. A couple of days later Nitish Kumar also returned to the Gujarat government the Rs.5 crore grant it had given for flood relief.
Nitish Kumar followed this up with instructions that Modi should not come to campaign in Bihar during the Assembly elections, which were held in October-November 2010. His contention was that Modi's presence would alienate the considerable Muslim support base that the JD(U) had in the State. He also highlighted the advertisement trick using a photograph of Muslim girls to buttress his argument. Ultimately, Modi and the BJP were forced to comply with this direction.
Modi's anti-minority image once again came into sharp focus during the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Sohrabuddin Sheikh Murder case and particularly after the July 2010 arrest of Amit Shah, his trusted associate and the then Minister of State for Home. Shah was the first Minister to be arrested in the country in a case of fake encounter.
Revelations that a senior Minister of Modi's Cabinet had allegedly taken part in organising an encounter killing of a small-time criminal and his wife, who had no role in any crime, brought back memories of the 2002 carnage and Modi's alleged complicity in it.
All these developments, which signified the return of the 2002 carnage as a major point of discussion in the polity, did cause problems and place impediments in the assiduous image-building exercise that Modi and his associates undertook.
The latest in this series, Sanjiv Bhatt's affidavit, delineates Modi's alleged complicity in the 2002 carnage in concrete terms. Social activists who have tried to bring justice to the victims and survivors of the carnage over the past nine years believe that Bhatt's affidavit will impart greater strength to the legal points against Modi with regard to his alleged involvement in the carnage.
Call of conscience
Social activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been in the forefront of efforts to bring justice to the riot victims and survivors, points out that from time to time conscientious people have decided to end their silence on the carnage and come out with what they know. “Bhatt's action also needs to be seen in this light, she told Frontline (see interview).

At a broader level, the revelations that have harked back to the 2002 carnage have also underlined the general anti-Muslim thrust of the politics and policies of Narendra Modi and his government. Bhatt's affidavit has brought into sharp focus this thrust. An important point of discussion has been a recent study on “Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials” carried out by Dr Abusaleh Shariff, Chief Economist of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and member-secretary of the Sachar Committee, which prepared a comprehensive report on the state of Muslims in the country.
Shariff's study points out that Gujarat's Muslims fare badly on parameters of poverty, hunger, education and vulnerability on security issues. According to the study, levels of hunger are as high in Gujarat as they are in Orissa and Bihar. It also points out that the poverty of Gujarat's Muslims is eight times more than that of high-caste Hindus and 50 per cent more than that of Other Backward Class (OBC) communities. Twelve per cent of the Muslims have bank accounts, but only 2.6 per cent get bank loans.
The study also states that Muslims in Gujarat face high levels of discrimination, even in their enrolment for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). In the context of this study, questions have also been raised about Gujarat's claims about vibrant growth in other areas such as infrastructure development and industrialisation.

In the midst of all this, Modi and his associates have sought to launch a strong counter-attack against Bhatt, highlighting the senior police officer's alleged misdemeanours in service. Central to this counter-attack are certain official proceedings against Sanjiv Bhatt, which allege a recruitment scam while he was chairman of a district police recruitment board.
It is pointed out that Bhatt was charge-sheeted on December 12, 2010, as part of a departmental inquiry into police recruitment that took place in May 1996. It is also pointed out that through a “Confidential” Memorandum, the Home Department had served a show-cause notice on Bhatt on December 29, 2010. A case that came up against him in Rajasthan is also highlighted as part of the counter-attack. It involves allegations by a section of lawyers of Rajasthan that Bhatt had falsely implicated one of their colleagues in a narcotics case in 1996. Bhatt was charge-sheeted in this case by the Rajasthan Police's Crime Branch before a trial court in Jodhpur on April 13, 2000. The IPS officer's appeal against the charges is pending before the Supreme Court.
The argument of the BJP leadership, as also Modi's supporters, is that Bhatt has sought to implicate Modi in the 2002 carnage only to cover up his own culpability in many cases and escape punishment. “In any case, an officer who has been thus implicated and charge-sheeted has no moral authority to raise charges against the Chief Minister. We are sure that his affidavit will not stand up to a good judicial scrutiny,” Prakash Javadekar, BJP spokesperson, told Frontline.
Notwithstanding such assertions, the fact remains that the return of the ghost of the 2002 Gujarat carnage signifies yet another round of political battles and legal wrangling for the BJP, and particularly for Narendra Modi, who continues to cherish an elevation to the top leadership in national politics before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
This article was written by VENKITESH RAMAKRISHNAN in New Delhi
For Frontline Magazine

FRONTLINE May 2011 On Gujarat

Vol:28 Iss:10 URL:

Marketing a myth

WHEN Anna Hazare praised Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his achievements in rural development in Gujarat, it resulted in a slew of messages to the veteran Gandhian from outraged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and activists.
Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah, both social activists in Gujarat, said they had spent five days drafting their reply to Annaji but felt it was worth it because it had to be said. They said in their message to Hazare: “The statement of Annaji creates a wrong impression. It endorses Modi's authoritarian, fascist government, which is anti-farmer, anti-women, anti-working class, anti-Dalit, anti-tribal, anti-minorities, anti-environment, and against all the marginalised groups.”
A response also came from social activist and danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who called Hazare's endorsement “appalling” and threatened to distance herself from the Lokpal movement unless Hazare “irrevocably retracted” his statement. Quick to point out the irony of the situation was the social activist Teesta Setalvad, who said there had been no Lokayukta in Gujarat for almost seven years.
Prajapati and Shah invited Hazare to Gujarat to see the so-called development work of a “Chief Minister who turned his back on scores of farmers who demand their right to farming as in the case of the Mahuva agitation; on tribal people who seek forest land”, and turned a “blind eye to pollution in towns and villages like Ankleshwar, Vapi, Nandesari, Vatva, Saurashtra and Kutch” and “fishing communities being deprived of their livelihood in Kutch”.
Gujarat is a State divided. At one end there is progress: 90 per cent of the village roads are paved; 98 per cent of the villages are electrified, with 80 per cent of them having electrified homes and 18 hours of electricity every day; and 86 per cent have piped water supply and good phone connections, banks, post offices and bus services. But amid all this, there are falling human development and social indices and rising corruption, which is all the more unacceptable because of the clean and progressive image that is being projected of the State.
Three big scams in two years have done little to promote Modi's Vibrant Gujarat. There was the Rs.1,700 crore Sujalam Sufalam scam in 2009: labourers who were to be given wheat in exchange for digging ponds in fields were given rice instead by local fair price traders although they had been paid wheat prices by the government. Many of the ponds were ‘dug' only on paper and large stocks of the rice were sent to Maharashtra and sold there at a profit. Also in 2009 came the Rs.260 crore scam pertaining to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: non-existent traders sold boris (sacks) to set up sandbag check dams, non-existent labourers were registered, and NREGA funds were misappropriated. In 2010, it was found that the Fisheries Minister had been awarding contracts for fishing in 58 reservoirs across the State. Reservoir fishing is awarded on the basis of tenders. It was alleged that the irregularity cost the State exchequer Rs.600 crore.
In 2003, Modi initiated the Vibrant Gujarat Summit to attract investors to the State. The first time he attracted proposals worth Rs.69 crore. In 2005, he got Rs.1 lakh crore. Then Rs.4 lakh crore in 2007, Rs.12 lakh crore in 2009 and almost Rs.21 lakh crore in 2011.
So what is it that the investors get in return for this undoubted confidence they have placed in Modi? In a nutshell, they get easy access to land and water wherever they want it. They also get tax exemptions for five years in which they are also exempt from labour laws. In this easy scheme of things, agricultural land is easily turned into non-agricultural land and tribal land is handed over to industries. Companies that have been polluters and have been hauled up by courts and ordered to clean up their act respond by simply moving out to new areas.
Vibrant Gujarat operates on a straightforward principle – roll out the red carpet for big money and ensure that everything is placed at its disposal. Social indices such as health, especially of women and children; education; the status of minorities; the economic health of the middle class and the poor; jobs, livelihoods and environmental concerns are all taking a back seat in what people are beginning to call the race to help the already rich.
Exclusive club
The beneficiaries seem to be a small and exclusive club. Employment generation has not kept up with that in other States. Teesta Setalvad, in an article entitled “Vibrant Gujarat summit – 2011 – Ridiculous show-off of Power”, has compared the investment and employment opportunities of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. She concludes that from 2006 to 2010, Maharashtra had Rs.4,20,546 crore in investment and employment opportunities worth Rs.8,63,395; and Tamil Nadu had investments worth Rs.1,63,280 crore and employment opportunities worth Rs.13,09,613, whereas Gujarat had investments worth Rs.5,35,873 crore and employment opportunities worth Rs.6,47,631.
Teesta Setalvad's analysis says: “At the end of the year 2009-10 in Gujarat there were 8,32,000 educated unemployed people. Number of educated unemployed people was 9,64,000 in 2004, 9,00,000 in 2005, 8,30,000 in 2006, 7,78,000 in 2007, 8,25,000 in 2008 and in 2009 also it was 8,25,000. Now if in the year 2003, 2005, 2007 there has been capital investment as per [what the] Chief Minister says, then why there has not been any significant decrease in the number of these unemployed people?”
Prajapati and Shah say that the “growth” in Gujarat is of a “job killing” kind: “The success story of the two-digit growth has masked the several-digit realities of loss of livelihood, land acquisition, displacement and permanent loss of natural resources, which are treated as free goods in this process. The investment figure without the displacement and depletion of natural resources figure, and the employment figure without loss of livelihood does not make sense,” they said in their message to Hazare.

Dr Abusaleh Shariff, Chief Economist, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and member-secretary of the Sachar Committee, said: “Gujarat fares better on direct income measures, but this apparent prosperity masks higher poverty levels and a much lower ranking in human development.” According to a study carried out by Shariff, Gujarat's share is only 5 per cent in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, reflecting the State's inadequate commitment to income generation for the poor. He also said levels of hunger in Gujarat were high and comparable to those in Orissa and Bihar. Only Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh had higher hunger levels, he said.

The Reserve Bank of India's 10-year report from January 2000 to March 2010 on foreign direct investment put paid to the notion that Gujarat attracted high FDI. Maharashtra attracted FDI worth Rs.17 lakh crore during this period; New Delhi Rs.10 lakh crore; Tamil Nadu Rs.2.4 lakh crore; Andhra Pradesh Rs.2 lakh crore; and Gujarat Rs.2.8 lakh crore.
The easy availability of land and resources is perhaps the biggest challenge before new industry today, and this is what Modi offers. The Mahuva and Orpat Limited cases highlight how people (especially farmers) are ridden roughshod over by the government in the rush to give land to industries. In the Mahuva case, the local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator objected to a project that Modi had cleared. In 1999, the then Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel of the BJP, had ordered the building of four CDTRS (check dam cum tidal regulatory structure) at a cost of over Rs.60 crore. Located in a stretch of 40 km, these were supposed to turn thousands of hectares of land arable. Local farmers were delighted, but their joy was short-lived because the land was handed over to a washing soap company that was diversifying into cement. The land perfectly suited the company's purpose because it had the limestone deposits essential for cement production. But the mining of limestone would spell doom for the natural barrier against salinisation of arable lands. Local resistance to the idea was quashed by goons.
The 214-hectare plant coming up at a cost of Rs.1,400 crore will require a mining lease for over 3,200 hectares. This will displace about 5,000 families, that is, over 30,000 people. Agriculture has been the backbone of Mahuva, which is relatively prosperous and dependent on 20 cotton gins and 50 onion dehydration units.
In February 2010, local MLA Dr Kanubhai Kalsariya organised a rally of the people of the dozen affected villages. Modi rejected the petition of the 5,000 Mahuva residents who walked to Gandhinagar to ask him to cancel the land lease for the plant.
In Saurashtra, a similar land acquisition plan was unfolding. As part of the Vibrant Gujarat scheme, Orpat industries was granted 40 ha of land in Wankaner district to construct a tourist resort. Wankaner is in a drought-prone area. Two shocking concessions were made for Orpat. It was given land at Rs.40 per square metre and sole access to the Garida pond, the lone waterbody in the area that was used for drinking water and irrigation. It was walled off by Orpat.
Angry farmers approached the High Court, which stayed all activity on the site and in March this year ordered that water be released into irrigation canals. Local residents have also challenged the all-too-speedy allotment of land and the price at which it was given. The High Court is expected to give its order on both soon.
Fr Lancy Lobo of the Centre for Culture and Development in Vadodara has been studying development and displacement in Gujarat since Independence. His report entitled “Development-Induced Displacement in Gujarat 1947-2004”, co-authored with Shashikant Kumar, shows 4,00,000 households displaced in 57 years of Independence; this means that 5 per cent of the State's population was affected by developmental projects. Lobo says that a study of 80,000 Gazette notifications of the Government of Gujarat and files from Land Acquisition Departments from 25 Collectorates shows that 33,00,000 hectares of land was acquired in this period.
Shadow of 2002 riots
The communal killings of 2002 still haunt Gujarat. Not only were the camps for the riot-affected closed down with unseemly haste but the ghettoisation of the minority community continues because of the general sense of insecurity. Though it is common to hear it being said that “Muslims have moved on”, the scars are still fresh for the community. If they have “moved on”, it is because they have had to, not because they were assisted or encouraged to. There are huge advertisements and posters of Modi's meeting with Muslim leaders, but within the community this is seen for what it is – buying of peace.

In a study titled “Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials”, Shariff says, “Empirical evidence suggests that relative to other States and relative to other communities, Muslims in Gujarat are facing high levels of discrimination and deprivation.” Indeed, the discrimination extends beyond Muslims to all those who opposed Modi at the time of the riots. Serving Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has brought on record certain crucial aspects relating to cases from 2002, is Modi's latest victim. The special police protection given to him has been withdrawn, presumably because he did not fall in line.
Lobo says that despite all his bravado, 2002 “still haunts” Modi. He believes Modi “has passed from Hindutva to Gujarati asmita (self-respect) to development. He is trying to offset 2002. I'm not saying he has forgotten the past. It is just dormant for the time being because his focus is development, and development for him means industry right now. And so agriculture is suffering. Tribal people are suffering. Sixty per cent of the land that has been acquired for water resources is in tribal areas. Not only is water being taken away from the tribal people, but the places where it is being sent are already prosperous areas. After globalisation this is the dominant paradigm of development. He is laying the foundation for himself in Delhi in 2020.”
Modi is able to steamroll his way in the State because the bureaucracy is scared and the opposition is ineffective. Lobo feels there is “a strange understanding” between Modi and the Congress, and this seems to be helping Modi consolidate his position further.
However, in March, State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia released some telling statistics. Citing figures from the report of the Suresh P. Tendulkar Committee appointed by the Planning Commission, Modhwadia said 31.8 per cent of the State's population lived below the poverty line. This meant that Gujarat had the highest percentage of poor people in the country. Claiming government statistics as his source, Modhwadia announced that 9,829 workers, 5,447 farmers and 919 farm labourers had committed suicide in the State during Narendra Modi's tenure as Chief Minister.
So, will Modi's one-sided growth alienate large sections of society? Are his actions creating a gulf between him and his assured voters? There seem to be small rumblings, undercurrents that indicate that his hard-core voters are slightly disgruntled.
They are hesitant to consider the Congress because the party quite obviously lacks a presence. Also, the dominant feeling is still that Modi has restored Gujarati asmita. Speaking plainly, this gives validation to the conflict between Hindus and Muslims. Asmita is a thinly veiled term implying that the minority community has been “taught a lesson” and “put in its place”.
Those who are the new victims of Modi's development goals are in a state of confusion. The man they saw as their hero is now creating policies that are affecting them adversely. There is a feeling of being let down and a reluctance to admit it.
In Luna village near Vadodara, farmers who voted for the BJP are still hesitant to speak against the party though they admit that the party's policies are destroying their livelihoods. They see the BJP as a Hindu party and as Hindus they want to support it. In return they expect favourable policies. That this is not happening is causing some turmoil and they are unwilling to express it openly.
The realisation that Modi has set aside his Hindutva plan, albeit temporarily, and is now set on a course that discriminates on economic grounds is an idea that is yet to sink in among Luna's farmers. Once it does, there is every possibility that the tables may be turned, and Modi may need to change his game plan.

This article was wriiten by LYLA BAVADAM in Vadodara Frontline Magazine

Times of India: 2nd May 2011 on West Bengal

Economist contests Bengal govt's claim of 10% quota to Muslims
TNN | May 2, 2011, 02.14am IST

NEW DELHI: As Bengal elections enter a critical phase with serious challenge to Left's Muslim vote base, economist Abusaleh Shariff questioned the claims that the state had given 10% reservation to Muslims under the OBC category.

Shariff said the talk of exclusive religious quota was erroneous since the state's notification did not mention any religion but only the categories – backwards and most backwards.

While a chunk of Muslim groups have been added to most backward category with OBC quota too hiked from 7% to 17%, Shariff argued, "Muslims cannot form the entire 10% of OBCs as is being claimed." He said the claim that it would benefit 85% of Muslim population was misleading in the absence of caste census.

A paper by Shariff on the neglect of Muslims in the state, released ahead of Bengal polls in March, gave ammunition to Trinamool Congress and invited objections from the Left. His fresh attack on Left's claims can only trigger more controversy.

Shariff called Bengal's sudden rush for Mandal philosophy as crass politics, asking why did the state neglect OBC reservation for so many years. "Even now, Left's discomfiture with caste-based OBC reservation is evident... it remains shy of exhausting the full quota of 27% despite having now enlisted more than 100 caste groups as OBCs. The OBC quota in the state is only 17%," he said

Renewing his attack on the Left over the minority question, the economist cited the recruitment figures in Kolkata to rebuff the Left. During 2009-11, he claimed, Kolkata Police appointed 11 Muslim sergeants out of 511, Fire service appointed nine Muslims out of 605, the Food Corporation of India 12 out of 564 and Home Guards 35 out of 1,607.

He said per capita average landholding among Muslims was the lowest at 0.2 hectare, quoting the 61st round of NSSO report prepared in 2008.