West Bengal Public Service Exams
Kolkata: Muslim representation in Government service in West Bengal received a slight boost with 30 Muslims figuring among the 144 successful candidates last month. According to Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Chairman of the West Bengal Minorities Financial Development Corporation, inclusion of more Muslims under the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category has enabled more Muslim candidates to come out successful in the competitive exams held for the Government jobs recently. He said the results also serve as an index of increased awareness among Muslims regarding education and participation in competitive exams for official positions. Ahmed said this is the first time after independence that so many Muslims have figured among the successful candidates in the State. He also attributed it to inclusion of the sections of the community under OBCs by the Trinamool Congress leader and Chief Minister Smt. Mamata Banerjee. He said even among the police officers selection, five Muslims have come out successful among the 30 selected. It may be recalled that Muslim representation had dipped to merely 2% around the end of the 35 years of Marxist Party rule in 2011 from 8% during the last Congress Government in 1977 led by Siddharth Shankar Ray. The Justice Sachar Committee Report (released in 2006) too had said that plight of Muslims in West Bengal was worse than plight of Muslims in BJP-ruled Gujarat. It may be recalled that on June 29, 2012, West Bengal Public Service Commission had published names of 651 persons recommended to be appointed in different departments in Government of West Bengal. Only 23 Muslims were on that list making a representation of only 3.5% of the total. The State Government declaration that Muslims will get 10% reservation within the OBC category had been neglected. The Government led by Chief Minister Ms. Banerjee in one of her first moves issued notification to include 30 more Muslim castes in the state list of Other Backward Classes (OBC). With this addition, the number of Muslim castes in OBC went up to 83. Now 87% of the Muslim population in West Bengal is covered under the OBC category. Now the total number of enlisted OBCs comprising different communities in the state has reached 143. Elsewhere, in a reply to the RTI activist Sabir Ahmed, the Kolkata police has stated that there were only 2,585 Muslims among the total of 27,388 which makes the Muslim share at 9.43%. Similarly, the share of Muslims in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) was mere 4.79% i.e., 1,301 among 27,125 total employees. It was a marginal rise from 4.47% in 2007 when West Bengal had a Left Front Government. The statistics pertain to March 31, 2015. The KMC employed 34,731 persons in 2007, of which Muslims were 1,555.