No respite from poverty for Muslims -Irfan Ahmad & Santosh Mehrotra

-The Hindu

Government intervention is required to improve educational and economic indicators

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) labour force survey reports that the economic condition of Muslims does not show any signs of improvement despite India being the fastest-growing large economy. An analysis of the data on economic and educational indicators for various religious groups reveals that Muslims are facing a vicious circle of poverty.

Lowest education levels

The NSSO’s 68th round (2011-12) provides estimates of education levels and job market indicators across major religious communities in India. The educational attainment of Muslims is the least among all these communities. In urban areas, the number of male Muslim postgraduates is as low as 15 per 1,000. This number is about four times lower than that of other communities, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. The situation is similar for Muslim women. The number of male graduates among Muslims is 71 per 1,000, less than even half the number of graduates (per 1,000) in other communities. Similarly, the number of Muslims educated up to the secondary and higher secondary levels is 162 and 90 per 1,000 persons, respectively, again the least among all the communities.

Poor achievement at higher levels of education is partly a reflection of sinilarly low levels of school education or of illiteracy. Around half the Muslim population over 15 years is either illiterate or has only primary or middle school education. The number of illiterate people is highest among Muslims (190 per 1,000), followed by Hindus (84), Sikhs (79) and Christians (57). The number of persons (over 15 years) who have obtained just primary or middle school education among Muslims is 257 and 198 (per 1,000 persons), respectively. Thus, as compared to other communities, the distribution of the Muslim population is least at the higher levels of education and highest at the lower levels of education.

Likewise, the current attendance rate among Muslims is least across all age groups. The number of Muslim males of 5-14 years in urban areas attending educational institutions is 869 per 1,000 persons, which is the least among all religious groups. It is higher among Christians (981), followed by Sikhs (971), though it is lower among Hindus (955), possibly because Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have lower rates. The gaps in the current attendance rates of Muslims and those of other religious groups are increasingly pronounced at higher age groups.

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The Hindu, 6 November, 2018, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/no-respite-from-poverty-for-muslims/article25429598.ece?homepage=true

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