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Gujarat far behind, Muslims most backward there

New Delhi: Dr. Abu Saleh Sharif, noted economist who was also a member of Justice Sachar Committee which submitted a report on the overall condition of Muslims in India, said here while speaking in a conference on ‘Social and religious discrimination of Muslims in Gujarat’ sponsored by Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) on 12 February that Gujarat is very much behind in the race of development and Muslims are the most backward.

This in fact is the first programme of this series under which the overall progress and development in different states and the condition of Muslims will be reviewed. Presenting the power point in IOS office in Delhi Dr. Sharif said that a lot of propaganda is made about the progress of Gujarat but in the light of statistics, the facts are to the contrary. He said that considering the overall progress it (Gujarat) is below Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, adding that the proportion of poverty in Gujarat should have been low or small but it is large. He said that in rural areas poverty among Muslims is eight times more than other sections whereas in urban areas the ratio is two percent.

On the starvation front, Gujarat is nearer to those states whose condition is worst, he said, adding that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme is very important for the employment of common man but Gujarat’s share in this scheme is 5% only and as far as condition of Muslims is concerned, working ratio of Muslims as compared to Hindus is 10% less.

Referring to Reserve Bank India’s 10-year report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) he said that in Maharashtra, FDI was worth Rs. 17 lakh crore, in Delhi, Haryana and NCR (including some parts of UP) it was worth Rs 10 lakh crore but in Gujarat during the course of 10 years it was worth Rs 2.8 lakh crore.

In reply to a question he said that it is true that during its first term the UPA government had described this state as number one from the point of view of development and had honoured it with award but the statistics of 40 years do not confirm it. Hence the attention of government and media should be specially invited to this aspect. He also said that this programme is very important in the light of discussions and talks held recently in the country about the progress and development of Gujarat and it will greatly help in understanding the facts.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 21

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