The slight improvement in Muslim placements in State Government jobs is being showcased by Mamata Banerjee as her great success in development of Muslims who even after Sachar panel revelations on their conditions continue to grin and bear it
Zaidul Haque | Clarion India
KOLKATA — Unemployment among youth is a burning issue in West Bengal like it is all over India. According to the 2006 Sachar committee report, Muslims in government jobs in West Bengal accounted for only 2.1 per cent of the total. However, the ‘Staff census report: 2014-15’ released by the Bureau of Applied Economics & Statistics, Government of West Bengal says, the Muslim share was 5.73 per cent as on January 31, 2015.
The Census 2011 revealed that the Muslim population in West Bengal is 27.01 per cent. So, naturally, the above job data is negligible compared to the population, but the progress is good.
In 35 years of Left ruling in West Bengal, Muslim representation in government jobs was not very remarkable. The Sachar Committee report shows the worst position of the Muslims in the West Bengal Government which was very measurable. But, at that time, Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Minister of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department Dr. Abdus Sattar had denied the reality presented by the Sachar report. Their allegation against the Sachar Committee was that it had not mentioned the real picture of the Bengal’s Muslims.
If we analyse the Sachar Report, a few questions arise regarding the data provided by the West Bengal Government. Some departments of the West Bengal Government had not provided the data on Muslims in government jobs. Justice Sachar had mentioned that in the report clearly and had said that Muslims in Government jobs in West Bengal was only 2.1 per cent.
According to the Sachar report, West Bengal supplied data pertaining to 1,34,972 employees which proved that the Muslim share was only 2.1 per cent. Department-wise, the largest percentage of Muslim employees was in the state Home department — 7.1 per cent. Besides this, the Health, Women and Child Welfare Departments had one per cent Muslims and all other departments totalled only 2.4 per cent. Sachar report had also mentioned that no data was provided by the West Bengal Government for the Education Department and theTransport Department.
It is a fact that the Sachar Committee had recommended implementation of social and economic development of Muslims, including education, employment etc. The Social, Economic, Education status of Muslims was submitted to the Sachar committee on November 17, 2006, but tabled in Loksabha and Rajy Sabha on 30 November 2006.
For further evaluation after the Sachar Committee report, a committee was formed headed by Professor Amitabh Kundu (Centre for Study of Regional Development Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi). The rest of the members were P. C. Mohanan (Deputy Director General, CSO), Dr. Amir Ullah Khan (Deputy Director, Gates Foundation, New Delhi), P. A. Inamdar (Azam Campus, Inamdar Mansion, Pune), Dr. Manzoor Alam (Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies), Prof. P. M. Kulkarni (Centre for the Study of Regional Development Social Sciences Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Jeemol Unni (Director, IRMA Anand, Gujrat), Farah Naqvi (Member, National Advisory Council Prime Minister’s Office), Prof. Abdul Shaban (Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy, Habitat and Humans, Mumbai) and Ali Ahmed (Secretary, Central Waqf Council New Delhi).
They submitted their report on September 29, 2014, eight years after the Sachar report. So, many political changes happened in the country, including end of the 35-year-long regime of he Left Front in West Bengal.
In 2011, the Trinamul Congress (TMC) headed by Mamata Banerjee came to power in the state. Data shows that the Muslim vote bank of the Left Front shifted to TMC and Mamata registered a historic victory. After being sworn in as the Chief Minister, she assured the Muslims about their development, including jobs in Government.
Fourteen years have passed after the 2006 Sachar report and it would be interesting to analyse what had been changed of Muslims in West Bengal. In the subsequent Kudu committee report made by the Government, there is no specific data about the West Bengal Muslims.
But a preliminary survey report in 2014 was available on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in West Bengal, `Status of Muslims in West Bengal, Preliminary Public report 2014’, conducted jointly by NGO Social Network for Assistance to People (SNAP) and Guidance Guild in collaboration with the Noble laureates Amartya Sen’s organisation Pratichi Trust.
The 77-page report throws light on the continuing poor conditions of Muslims of West Bengal. It highlights some important socio-economic issues, concerning Muslims of the state, even seven years after the landmark all-India study done by Central government-appointed Sachar Committee. It points out that there is no significant change in the conditions of Muslims in West Bengal. But the report could not carry the data of Muslim employment during the TMC-led period.
Now Clarion India has had access to got the Staff Census report of Government of West Bengal of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years. It is found that after coming to power, the Mamata-led government has been taken good initiatives of enrolment of Muslims as belonging to Other Backward Classes. Besides the 7 per cent reservation of OBC-B, Mamata Government has given 10 per cent reservation to the OBC category-A, that includes the Muslim community.
In the Sachar Committee report, there was only seven per cent reservation for OBCs in West Bengal and the Muslim groups only 9 per cent. Now the number of Muslim groups has increased. Presently, OBC categories are mentioned as OBC-B and OBC-A. In OBC-B, a few Muslim groups are also enlisted, but a majority of Muslim groups are enlisted in OBC-A. So, this total 17 per cent OBC reservation, no doubt, helps the Muslim community.
Now is the time to analyse Mamata’s election promises and the present situation vis-à-vis jobs for the Muslim community in the Government of West Bengal. Mamata always claims that her Government has done most of the development work for Muslims in the state. Staff Census of West Bengal Government shows different state of affairs.
But, it is true that a great change has been made during the Mamata regime. Comparatively, the Sachar report showed Muslims employment in Government was only 2.1 per cent. But the 2014-15 financial year Staff census of West Bengal Government says that the Muslim share in Government jobs has increased to 5.73 from 5.47 per cent in the financial year 2013-14.
However, after the 10 per cent OBC-A reservation declared by the West Bengal Government not maintaining the own Government circular.
Sicne 1948, the Bureau of Applied Economics & Statistics, Government of West Bengal has been conducting the “Census of State Government Employees” to update the data series on employment profiles of the State Government Employees working all over West Bengal.
The Employment Census report has data for 2013-14 collected up to 31 January, 2014 and for 2014-15 collected up to 31 January, 2015. Both are 45 pages in total. The information on various employment characteristics are collected from the treasuries of 18 districts in 2014 and 19 district in 2015. The employment census data shows that the number of jobs decreased in 2015 compared to the previous year. According to the report, there were 3,53,525 employees in 2014, but in 2015 the number went down to 3,31,249. So, the Muslim share in 2015 was comparatively greater than in 2014.
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims accounted for 21.01 per cent of the state’s population. The Sachar committee report was based on the 2001 census, when the Muslim population totalled 25.2 per cent. The increased population, simultaneously, increased the Muslim share in Government jobs in West Bengal from 2.1 per cent (According to the Sachar report) to 5.73 per cent in 2015. Yet, as per Muslim population, the community has a very measurable representation in Government jobs in West Bengal with Muslim-dominated districts mostly deprived of Government jobs.
As per census report of 2011, the largest Muslim-populated district of West Bengal in Murshidabad that boasts 66.28 percentage population but the share of Muslims from the district in Government jobs is insignificant—much lower in 2015 than in 2014. The same is the story of five other districts which have bagged fewer jobs for their Muslim residents. In fact, Muslim employees in Government jobs are gradually decreasing in several Muslim-dominated districts.
According to Staff Census 2013-14, the Muslim share of Murshidabad in State Government jobs was 16.3 per cent, Coochbehar 4.28 per cent, Uttar Dinajpur 9.11 per cent, Malda 11.33 per cent, Kolkata 5.39 per cent and Howrah 4.84 per cent.
But Census 2014-15 says that the Muslim share of Murshidabad in State Government jobs is 15.61 per cent, Coochbehar 4.07 per cent, Uttar Dinajpur 8.85 per cent, Malda 11.09 per cent, Kolkata 5.3 per cent and Howrah 4.24 per cent.
However as per Census 2011, the Muslim population in Coochbehar 25.54 is per cent, 50.92 per cent in Uttar Dinajpur, 51.27 per cent in Malda, 20.60 per cent in Kolkata, 26.2 per cent in Howrah.
Similarly, in South 24 Parganas, the Muslim population is 35.57 per cent but the Muslim share in State Government jobs in this district is 5.82 per cent; in Birbhum, the Muslim population is 37.06 per cent but the job share is 11.71 per cent. Birbhum district is exceptional because, the 2013-14 Staff Census shows the Muslim share in State Government jobs was 3.93 per cent but in 2014-15 it increased from 7.78 per cent to 11.71 per cent.
In districts where Muslim population is low, the Muslim share in state government jobs is comparatively better. In Jalpaiguri district, Muslim population is 11.51 per cent as per Census 2011 but Muslim share in state Government jobs is 3.75 per cent.
The West Bengal Governments Staff Census has given a clear picture of the Muslims that, after the Sachar Committee report, the Muslim share in the state Government job has increased but is not sufficient. Even the Mamata government has given 10 per cent reservation for OBC-A but this has not fulfilled the reservation norms to recruit the employees for West Bengal Government. Till date, the Muslim share in State Government jobs has crossed only half the mark of the OBC-A reservation and the Muslim community is bearing the brunt.
After nine years of the Mamata regime, her Government only compares its performance vis-a-vis Muslim employment with the previous Left Front rule. The slight improvement of Muslim placements in State Government job is being showcased by the TMC politically as its great success in development of Muslims.
But then, opposition BJP has been describing the Muslim development in West Bengal as appeasement of the minority community by Mamata Banerjee. Thus, Muslims in the state have become a political instrument for the parties with Mamata claiming huge Muslim development while the BJP calling it Muslim appeasement at the cost of Hindus.
But the truth is that even 14 years after the Sachar report, Muslims who form 27.2 per cent of West Bengal’s population are still grinning and bearing it.