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Human Development Report 2011

By S. Tahsin Ahmed

The India Human Development Report (HDR) 2011 brought out by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research, a research body  under the Planning Commission, did not create a storm as could be expected – given the nature of its disclosures. The Report examines  whether certain sections of the Indian society suffer from multiple deprivations by investigating how different castes and religious  groups fare in terms of various socio-economic indicators. Arriving a couple of years after the Sachar Committee Report (2006), this  Report is of much significance to the Muslim community, in particular, since it analyzes whether the social indicators of excluded  groups are converging or diverging with the rest of the population. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index of three  outcome indicators: health and longevity, the educational attainment and the standard of living. In the 2010 global HDR,  India ranked  119 among 192 countries with a medium level HDI of 0.52. The 2010 Report recognizes that India is among the top 10 movers in gross  domestic product (GDP) growth.  However, there are concerns that despite high growth rates, many people are being left out of India’s growth story and inequality is on the rise. It is heartening to notice that in the national HDR 2011, the HDI between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 (the latest year for  which it can be estimated) has increased by 21%. This Report provides interesting insights on the  question whether different social groups like the SCs, STs, or Muslims, get excluded from the development process and whether India  is experiencing inclusive growth in the true  sense. The scope of this article is restricted to the major findings in respect of the Muslims.  Here are the major highlights: High incidence of poverty: One-third of the Muslims in the country are living below the poverty line.  The open unemployment rate (current daily status) is increasing for Muslims. The ownership of assets among households is the lowest  in the case of Muslims. The Labour Force Participation is much lower for Muslims, as against all other religious communities (52.8% in  rural sector and 47.4% in urban sector). The Worker Population Ratio is much lower in the case of Muslims as against all other religious communities (51.8% in rural sector and 45.9% in urban sector). The percentage of adult women’s malnutrition is increasing  for Muslims. The increase in the incidence of women suffering from anaemia between 1998-99 and 2005-06 was observed to be the highest for Muslim women with about six percentage points. Among the major States with a for Discontinuation/Dropping out of  school children among Muslims are: financial constraints (27%), parents not interested in studies (18%) and child not interested  in  studies (12%). Higher levels of educational attainment lead to the lowering of the incidence of poverty. If the benefits of high growth  have to reach all sections of the Indian population, particularly those belonging to SC, ST and Muslims, concrete steps have to be taken to address the social sector outcomes like health, education,  employment and asset ownership. Muslim political and religious leaders  and social workers should get activated. Emotional issues need to be sidelined. The Central Government and the State Government are allocating a sizeable budget and are implementing a plethora of schemes for the upliftment of the minorities. This amount has to be  spent in critical areas to sustain remedial measures. There should be greater interaction between the Government and the Muslim society. Bureaucrats manning the departments like Minorities Welfare should draw up effective schemes with a clear vision and  definite goals, rather than repeating a few out-dated and ineffective schemes year after year. Equipping the community is more important than releasing doles. Proper post-implementation appraisal of the utility of schemes will be highly beneficial. It is also  time for the Muslim community to re-draw its demands and re-fix its priorities. There is much hope and there are many positives emerging from the Human Development Report since the data reveals that Muslims are catching up on various other development indicators.(The author is a retired KAS officer and can be contacted at [email protected])