The Maharashtra Minorities Commission sponsored a study of the socio-economic condition of the Muslims in the State in 2012. The Department of Economics of the SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai took up the study and submitted their Report to the Commission in March 2013. It is a study, not a survey as much of the data has been collected from the secondary sources. Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Dr. Veena Devashali, Dr. Ruby Ojha and Dr. Sanjay Phad were the main investigators and writers of the Report. Islamic Voice has summarized the Report for its readers. By no means this piece is a comprehensive report. The readers can google for results on the comprehensive study report. We are only presenting the highlights:
Highlights of the Muslim Situation
1- Maharashtra’s current population stands at 11.2 crores. Muslims account for 10.6%. Their number is 10.3 million persons.
2- Seventy per cent of Muslim in the State live in urban areas.
3- More than one-fifth of the total Muslim population was enumerated in the two Greater Mumbai districts (21.6 %), the capital of Maharashtra state. The next highest concentration of Muslim community was enumerated in Thane district (8.6 %) followed by Aurangabad (5.55 %), Nashik (5.1 %), Jalgaon (4.4 %), Pune (4.4 %), Nanded (3.8 %), Solapur (3.7 %), Amravati (3.4 %) Nagpur (2.9 %), Akola (2.9%), and Buldana (2.8 %). The remaining districts reported less than 2.75 percent of Muslims living there.
4- Large majority of Muslims live in Mumbai Metropolitan area whose 15 to 18% population is Muslim.
5- Majority of city Muslims in the State live in slums which shows that they are engaged in low income economic activity.
6- The number of Muslim MLAs is five in the current Assembly. The number of Muslim MLCs is 11. Representation of Muslims in Indian Administrative Services in the state has been less than 1% for the last three decades. The number of Muslims in Maharashtra cadre IAS in 2011-12 is one among total 288 IAS officers.
7- The number in the IPS is 4 out of 203 officers in 2011. The sanctioned cadre strength for police officers in Maharashtra state is 302.
8- Four districts i.e., Prabhani, Washim Hingoli and Buldhana and 49 towns in the State have been declared minority population concentrated districts for Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) in 11th and 12th Five-Year Plans.
9- The Muslim population which generally has a higher fertility shows that nearly 37 % of population is below 15 years while the old age population, defined as 60+ is 6.6%. In comparison to the total population of state, the younger Muslim population i.e., below 15 years, exceed by around 5 – 6 % points, while aged Muslim population is lesser by 1.5 to2 % points. Similarly, the middle-aged Muslim population, defined as between 15 and 59 years is lesser by 3% points as compared to total population in the state. This indicates that Muslim population is younger than the state’s population.
10- The 2001 census for the first time provided information with regard to the 0-6 year child population by religion and gender. The sex ratio for 0-6 year population shows clearly that Muslim population enjoys a better sex ratio as compared to the Hindu population. This shows that male child preference is less among Muslims.
11- Out of total households in Maharashtra in 2001, 8.8% households were of Muslims. This implies that on an average household has a size of 6.1 persons in male-headed families and 4.9 persons in female-headed families.
12- Muslim community reported a higher percentage of being unmarried as compared to all communities including the Hindus in Maharashtra. A higher percentage of women were divorced and widowed as compared to the male population in all community. Higher percentage of unmarried person among Muslims could be a reflection of a higher percentage of younger population in the community. At national level the marital status among the Muslim community shows a lower percentage of 29%.
13- In 2001, the overall literacy rate among Muslim community was found to be 65.4%, very close to that of Hindu community and general literacy rate of 66% in the state.
14- The gender gap in literacy rate was nearly 12 percentage points higher among male Muslims as compared to female Muslims.
15- Hindu population recorded 923 female per 1,000 males as compared to 889 among Muslim population.
16- Nearly 32.4% of Muslims reported as being a worker as compared to 42.5% of total population in the state. (Census defines a worker as those who are engaged in economically productive activity for more than 6 month in a year and marginal workers as those who had worked for less than six months during the reference period. ‘Work’ included even part-time or unpaid work on farm, family enterprise or in any other economic activity.)
17- In urban areas percentage of illiterate and below primary level are around 34% among Muslim and about 20% among Hindu population. In the same way, Muslims who completed primary level education exceed by nearly 6% while lag behind Hindu population by 20%.
18- Among Muslims, nearly 33% in rural and 49% in urban areas are learning in Urdu language while nearly two third in rural areas get instruction in Marathi language. Attendance in English language was much less among Muslim community in both rural and urban areas.
19- Nearly 45% of educated Muslims attended government run institution in rural and 32% in urban areas. Private aided institution attended by nearly 23% in rural and 38% in urban areas. Attendance in rural private aided institutions was much lower among Muslim community than Hindu community.
20- While the general age of enrolment for all communities was 5.5 years, the age of discontinuation of education among Muslims was 14 year. For other minorities like Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs it was 17 and for Hindus it was 15 years. This means that Muslim children drop out earliest among all communities.
21- Nearly 97% are enrolled for general course while professional and technical education is pursued by around 4%. In urban areas nearly twice of rural areas percentage are pursuing professional and technical education. Vocational education was found as low as less than 0.3 per cent. Among Muslim and Hindu religious groups, the current education was reported more or less at the same level.
22- In case of sickness 30% per cent household in the state go to public sector facility for treatment and 70% utilize private sector facility. The utilization of public sector health facility was between 39% for Muslim and 35% for Hindu in rural areas, which has increased significantly from 21 to 24 per cent in 1998-99. In urban areas, higher percentage of Muslim household (32.5%) reported to go for public sector treatment as compared to Hindu households (19%).
23- Data from the second National Family Health Survey (NFHS) shows that one out of three deliveries in the state takes place at home. Though the institutional delivery has increased significantly from NFHS-1 (1993-94) at 45% to 55% in NFHS-2 and 66% in NFHS-3, still nearly 50% among Hindu and 42% Muslim households reported to have delivered at home. The urban areas show high percentage of institutional delivery (87%) among both Muslim and Hindu households. The services of private sector are found to be used in higher percentage among both the communities.
Socio -economic Infrastructure
Muslims in Maharashtra are a highly deprived community in terms of several socio-economic indices. Their employment pattern is highly skewed towards lower level activities in the tertiary sector with hardly any occupational mobility. The access of Muslims to bank credit is low and inadequate; the community has one of the lowest monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE), and lowest representation in the public sector employment. In response to persistent exclusion of Muslims from development efforts, the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report (2007) had asked for 10% reservation for Muslims in central and state government jobs and 6% within OBC quotas for Muslim OBCs, and the inclusion of Muslim and Christian dalits in the scheduled castes list and Equal Opportunities Commission to be set up expeditiously. But these recommendations are yet to be implemented.
Muslim communities throughout the state have complained that to avail any government scheme, agents charge Rs. 1000/- for fulfillment of formalities/paper work and if the amount is granted by the state, they disappear with money. Hence it is important to monitor the implementation of the schemes thro’ voluntary organizations/NGOs/potential beneficiaries.
(Source: Gandhia Topia: Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum website)
Economic Situation Abysmal
Maharashtra’s multicultural milieu is marked by crucial contribution made by Muslims. The Sachar Committee Report, 2006 stated that the condition of Muslim in Maharashtra demands special attention of the state where the Muslim members are the biggest religious minority. Seven surveys commissioned by the Maharashtra State Minority Commission to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) , Nirmala Niketan’s College of Social Work of Mumbai University and Research Centre for Women’s Studies of SNDT Women’s University that were submitted in 2011 discovered that a very large proportion of Muslims live in very dismal economic conditions. Nearly 1/3rd of the respondents in the TISS research reported an annual household income of less than Rs.10,000, 24.4% between Rs. 10,001-Rs.20,000, 7.5% between Rs.20,001-Rs.30,000, 3.8% between Rs.30,0001-Rs.40,000, 1% between Rs.40,001-Rs.50,000 and 5.6% above Rs.50,000. In the 21st century, limited occupational diversification is noticed among educated middle class Muslims in the cities of the state due to new openings in IT and construction industry.
As per the census 2011, Maharashtra’s Parbhani and Nanded districts had 30% Muslim population and Malegaon and Bhiwandi were Muslim majority Cities. Mumbra and Kashi mira in Thane district are emerging as new hub for economic activities, technical education institutions and community work among Muslims. In Malegaon block of Nashik district, highest percentage of Muslim community is to be found (42.5 %) as a proportion to the total population followed by Bhiwandi in Thane (35.8 %), Nanded (26.5 %), Aurangabad (25.5 %) and Parbhani (25.1 %). Marathwada as a region had a late integration and betrays a story of neglect. In Malegaon of Nashik district Muslims are mainly concentrated in the urban area (70.96%) as compared to rural areas of Malegaon (3.6%). Among the tehsils, highest percentage of Muslim community is found in Shrivardhan tehsil of Raigarh district (20.26%), and nearly similar in percentages in both the rural and urban areas. In Vidarbha region, in Akola, Yavatmal and Amaravati Muslims constitute 8.3% of the total population.
(Source: An Overview of Socio Economic Profile of Muslims in Maharashtra Prof. Vibhuti Patel, Dept. of Economics, SNDT Women’s University)
Highly Deprived Community
The reluctance of banks to grant loans to Muslims is another factor for their economic backwardness. In all studies commissioned by the Minority Commission, the respondents have stated that in most cases, banks are biased, and there are no well-defined and objective criteria for rejecting loan applications of Muslims resulting into arbitrariness, bureaucratic bungling, corruption and leakage. The average amount of loans banks disbursed to the Muslims is found to be lower than the one given to other minorities, especially Buddhists and Sikhs.