A report submitted to the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission
last week by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) states
that the Muslims in Maharashtra lag considerably behind the rest
in education, jobs and economic progress but are still better off
compared to their counterparts in many north Indian states.
The study of the "demographic, socio-economic and educational
status of the Muslim community in Maharashtra", conducted
by D.P. Singh a professor at the Center for Research Methodology
at TISS, revealed that a sizeable Muslim population has not at all
entered the education system in the state and that the employment
rate was also much lower than the general population.
Singh recommends that more awareness must be created about the
various policies, schemes and scholarships meant for Muslims.
"Over the last 20 years, the literacy level of the Muslim
community has gone up in Maharashtra. But compared to other
minority groups, it is much lower. Adult male literacy was also
much lower as compared to the general population. Hence, their
educational qualification must be enhanced to compete with other
groups," Singh said.
"Further, they are mostly engaged in
unskilled jobs owing to their low educational qualifications.
Better training facilities should be made available them. It is
also important to remove the obstacles responsible for the high
dropout rates. The situation will improve when both the academic
and economic fronts are taken care of", he added.
Singh in his report reveals that among the population age 5-29
years, 53.9 percent of Muslims are currently not enrolled in
educational institutions, while the percentage of Hindus not
attending school or college stands at 46.3 percent.
Thus in comparison to the Hindu community, Muslims were found to
be similar in educational achievement, but lag behind other
minority communities like Jains, Sikhs, Christians and
According to Singh, the reasons for Muslims dropping out were
multiple. Among the Muslim community, 30 percent in rural areas
and 25 percent in urban areas cited financial and economic reasons
for not attending school or college or for discontinuation. Need
to join the labor force early was a predominant factor.
Unemployment rate among Muslims, the report stated, was found to
be higher than that of the total figure for Maharashtra and it was
found to be much higher in urban areas where concentration of the
Muslim community is higher.