New Delhi: A first-of-its-kind empirical study on Muslims living in the national capital reveals that Muslims are lagging behind other socio-religious sections of Delhi in terms of multiple deprivations on the parameters of education, economic growth, employment, health, living standards, and political representation in the elected bodies.
The study report titled “Muslims of Delhi: A Study on their Socio-economic and Political Status” was released on April 30 at the function ” in the presence of leading academicians and media persons including Ashutosh , Urmilesh, Qamar Agha, Yusuf Ansari, Dr. MH Ghazali, Abrar Ahmad, and Prof. Khwaja M. Shahid.
The study was jointly carried out by Delhi-based think tanks, the Institute of Policy Studies and Advocacy (IPSA), and Indian Muslim Intellectuals Forum (IMIF).
Speaking with Islamic Voice, IPSA’s founder Dr. Jawed Alarm Khan says the condition of Muslims in Delhi has been the subject of very few thorough studies, and the current study aims to fill some of that vacuum.
This study report is spread over 110 pages and was carried out in 2022, and it is mostly based on secondary data, including some recent government papers. In terms of many deprivations on the parameters of education, economic growth, employment, health, living conditions, and political representation in the elected bodies, the report emphasizes that Muslims are falling behind other socio-religious groups of Delhi.
According to the 2011 Census, there were 1, 67, 87,941 people living in the NCT of Delhi. The national capital has been estimated to have 1, 93, 01,096 residents. As a result, the projected current Muslim population in Delhi is 2.5 million, or 24, 81,839, or 12.86% of the total population. According to Census 2011, there were 21, 45,499 Muslims living in Delhi (12.78% of the total population), a number that has somewhat increased since 2011 as a result of accelerated Muslim migration to urban regions from other parts of the nation and also because of a slightly higher fertility rate.
In spite of the fact that there are many Muslims living in the nation’s capital, there aren’t many studies that have been done on their plight, Dr. Khan says.
There was a wealth of information about the situation of Muslims throughout India, particularly in Delhi, in the Sachar Committee Report from 2006. According to a Baseline Survey of the North-East District of Delhi, conducted in 2009–10 by the Ministry of Minority Affairs’ Minority Concentrated Districts Project, Muslims in the district are falling behind in a number of socioeconomic indicators, including education, employment, health, access to basic amenities, and financial inclusion.
Earlier, the Institute of Objective Study (IOS) held a survey of conditions in 7 Muslim concentration wards in 2015.
Apparently, no comprehensive research study has been carried out on the status of Muslims in Delhi after the Sachar Committee Report by any government or private agency for understanding the state of affairs and level of improvement in their socio-economic conditions and challenges, except some research papers on one or the other aspect of their life, says kaleem ul Hafeez, Convener, IMIF.
The current study includes data analysis on fiscal support for minority schemes, employment, education, healthcare, living conditions, and political clout in the context of the development of Delhi’s Muslims and is based on authentic secondary sources including the Census of India, NSSO Round, National Family and Health Survey, Periodic Labour Force Survey, etc. and public perceptions from the Muslim concentration wards of MCD as a primary data source. The relevant data coincide with the period of political transition in Delhi from the Congress to AAP-led government and, thus, they provide valuable insight regarding the progress of the community under a new regime.
The report underlines that the fiscal share in the overall state budget for the development of the SC/ST/OBC/Minorities’ department, which directly takes care of 83% population of the NCT of Delhi including Muslims, has come down from 0.98% in 2013-14 to almost 0.60% since 2015, though the actual amount has partially increased over the years along with the overall state budget. The only scheme for weaker sections in the state that shows consistency in public provisioning is the financial assistance for EWS category under the RTE. It has also been underlined that such autonomous agencies as Delhi Minority Commission, Delhi Waqf Board, NMFDC, Urdu Academy, etc are not functioning at their optimal level.
The educational performance of Delhi’s Muslims does not reveal any promising status in the midst of the hype of special achievements of the state’s educational department, though their literacy rate is somewhat better than in many other states. There is a big gender gap between Muslim males (15%) and females (30%) in terms of illiteracy, contrary to the lower national average. The distribution of government educational institutions in the Muslim pockets has not improved even under the present government as noted from the fact that there are an average of 4 schools per ward run by the state government and MCD in the Muslim concentration wards as compared to 10 in all wards.
The unemployment rate for Muslims has been noted at 11.8% as compared to 8.6 in the national capital and Muslims are generally engaged in lowly-paying jobs and occupations.
The Mother Mortality Rate (MMR) in the NCT of Delhi has increased from 37 in 2015 to 54 in 2020 and is becoming a disturbing health issue, in spite of the claims of good healthcare infrastructure in the state. Muslims must be the worst sufferers of the situation as Non-Institutional Delivery is the highest for them (13.7%) as compared to all SRCs (8 2%).
In terms of living conditions, the report underlies that 69.70% of Muslims avail the piped drinking water contrary to 76.3% of Delhi’s overall residents.
The report finds that one of the major reasons for Muslims’ grave situation in Delhi is that they are inadequately represented in the decision-making bodies, e.g. the number of Muslim MLAs in Delhi remains static at around 5.5%, almost one-third of their population in the state. Their representation in the MCD is even lesser.
The policy of the report demands increased fiscal support, better implementation of schemes, sensitization of public servants towards a sympathetic approach for the faster development of all weaker sections of Delhi including Muslims, and enhancement of their visibility in the decision-making bodies at every level.
The authors of the report hope that it will generate a wide range of awareness and clarity of vision regarding improving the condition of 2.5 million Muslims in the national capital which then should lead to an actionable agenda on the part of various stakeholders.