Muslim concentrated districts suffer from abject poverty, lack of resources in India

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 An Indian NGO has said that the Muslims in the country suffer from abject multidimensional poverty and lack of resources in concentrated districts of the Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

The report titled “Marginalisation of Muslims in Ten Minority Concentrated Districts: Bringing the Equity Question Back in the Political Discourse” was released by SPECT Foundation in New Delhi.

The report by SPECT Foundation, which surveyed 10 minority districts, also drilled holes into BJP allegations of population influx and minority appeasement. It also finds that Muslims are discriminated against in all government schemes.

The report assesses socio-economic parameters in 10 districts, which are part of the identified MsDP (Multi-Sectoral Development Programme): Bihar (Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar), Assam (Dhubri, Kokrajhar), Uttar Pradesh (Shravasti, Balarampur) and West Bengal (Malda, Murshidabad).

“What seems to escape any attention is that these districts, inundated by flood every year, suffer from abject multidimensional poverty and lack of resources. There are huge gaps in the existing structures of livelihood that diminish opportunities and shrink resources for the people of these districts. In most of these districts, data shows that the Muslim community in particular has remained even more cut off from basic resources,” the report noted.

The report found that these districts lack educational institutions, and health centres, have lower literacy rates, higher dropout rates, fewer work opportunities, and lack basic infrastructure. People in these districts do not get benefits from government schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana (PMGAY). These ten districts were also chosen in the first round because they have been particularly targeted by the BJP government.

The report also said that the conversation around the socioeconomic backwardness of the Muslim community, as well as the systemic underdevelopment of Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) has largely disappeared from the public domain in the last 8-10 years. The current ruling dispensation, displaying an anti-Muslim bias, has turned the narrative on its head, pushing instead the baseless idea of “Muslim appeasement”. The tragic chronicle of extreme socioeconomic backwardness among Muslims has been replaced by a range of concocted narratives that stigmatise, stereotype or seek to criminalise India’s Muslim community. The report provides an overdue factual corrective.

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Disclaimer: Muslim concentrated districts suffer from abject poverty, lack of resources in India - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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