The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minority in society, so in jobs

Calcutta, June 12: Shortly before commissioning the survey on the socio-economic status of minorities, Writers' Buildings had discovered that they were 'grossly underrepresented' in government jobs.

Figures for the past 10 years show that only one in 30 government jobs routed through the employment exchange goes to a Muslim, though the community forms 25.5 per cent of the state's population.

The corresponding figure for Christians is even lower, at less than 0.5 per cent. Compared to this, upper caste (non-scheduled caste/tribe or backward classes) Hindus, who constitute 36 per cent of the state's population, get around 62 per cent of the jobs.

'The survey that the state government has commissioned the Indian Statistical Institute to conduct will throw some light on why this mismatch is happening,' a labour department official said.

'There are various social and economic issues involved in this and after we get the findings of the survey, the government can address these issues and find ways to correct them.'

Even the posts that members of the minority communities occupy in the government are mostly way down in the hierarchy. For instance, in Calcutta police, where Muslims have about 4 per cent of the jobs, most are at the level of constables and few in officer rank.

Former labour minister Mohammed Amin said the situation was 'even worse' before and claimed that 'it is because of the progressive policies of the Left Front government that the situation has started to improve'.

But he also said that the government was 'concerned' about the situation.

Former minority affairs minister Mohammad Salim admitted that minorities were underrepresented in jobs.

'But it is also true that a new section of educated Muslims have come up and there has been a slight difference to the tally. The government has several schemes and has been helping them financially,' said Salim, now an MP.

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