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Sachar figures reveal Bengal apathy

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CITHARA PAUL   |   Published 09.02.10, 12:00 AM

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Some of the Sachar committee observations on Bengal

• 25.25 per cent (2.02 crore) of Bengal’s population Muslim but their share in government jobs just 4.2 per cent
• Only 5 per cent Muslim presence in key judiciary positions
• No Muslims in senior positions in state PSUs
• Bengal ranks third after Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in school dropout rates among Muslims

New Delhi, Feb. 8: The Sachar committee’s report revealed that Muslims in Left-ruled Bengal were worse off on every count than their counterparts in most other states.

The report, released in December 2006, put Bengal in the “worst-performer category,” despite the communists’ much professed commitment for the welfare of minorities. The state where 25.25 per cent (2.02 crore) of the population is Muslim, their share in government jobs is just 4.2 per cent and expenditure for the community is less than that for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.

The fraction of Muslims in “key positions” in the judiciary was only 5 per cent.

The Sachar report also pointed out that there were no Muslims in senior positions in state public sector units in Bengal.

The state came third on Muslim dropout rates as well as cases of children not going to school. The top two on this list were Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In their defence, the Left parties had said the Rajinder Sachar panel had given a miss to the comprehensive steps taken by the Bengal government to improve the condition of the community. To this, Sachar said: “People who do the least shout the most. I hope the communist parties pay more attention to West Bengal.”

The Muslim community did not take the report lightly.

“The Sachar committee report has been an eye-opener for the Muslims who had steadfastly stood with the Left Front government (in Bengal). This, along with the cynical role of state government in Singur and Nandigram as well as the Rizwanur Rahman murderer case, made us rethink about continuing our support to the Left Front,’’ said Anwar Ubaidulla Chowdhury of the Jamiat Ulema, a Muslim organisation.

Kerala, another state where the Left is powerful, was also found wanting on some counts.

The most glaring cases of deprivation in government jobs were found in Bengal and Kerala where, according to common perception, egalitarianism is the cherished norm in all walks of life.

However, Bengal had been one of the first states that had initiated the Prime Minister’s 15-point welfare plan for minorities.

It had announced that it would spend 15 per cent of the funds provided in the financial plans of eight departments on schemes and projects meant for minorities.

The departments included panchayats, urban development, municipal affairs, women and child development, school and technical education, disaster management and finance.

It had also constituted a state-level committee to monitor the programme.

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