Contrary to popular perception, a research paper has revealed that poverty among Muslims has reduced substantially vis-a-vis several other religious and social groups in the post-reform period.
The paper, which was presented at a United Nations seminar on Monday, was prepared by Sukhadeo Thorat and Amaresh Dubey of Jawaharlal Nehru University. It seeks to measure inclusive growth in the period of 1993-94 to 2009-10 and its possible implications on the strategy for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017).
The paper showed the rate of decline in poverty per annum in Muslims has been 2.8 per cent between 1993-04 and 2009-10 as against 2.4 per cent among Hindus and Scheduled Castes (SCs), and 2.1 per cent among Scheduled Tribes (STs). However, the decline in poverty for the community has been better in rural areas. It was 3.4 per cent, while the same went down by 1.8 per cent in urban areas, it said.
The findings may be in sharp contrast to the Rajinder Sachar Committee report, which talked of the deplorable socio-economic conditions of the Muslims.
The latest study said the best reduction of poverty has been among other religious minorities such as Christians, Jains and Sikhs. The number of poor among these communities went down by 3.4 per cent during the period.
The period between 2004-05 and 2009-10 was the most productive in terms of poverty reduction, as it came down by 6.3 per cent, 5.8 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 4.0 per cent and 5.1 per cent for other religious minorities, Muslims, Hindus, SCs and STs.
“The growth between 2004 and 2010 has been pro-poor for all, but particularly for the STs, Muslims and other religious minorities,” the paper said.
Interestingly, the rate of decline in rural poverty had doubled from 2.2 per cent per annum between 1994-95 and 2004-05 to 4.4 per cent between 2004-05 and 2009-10.
In terms of monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE), the trend remained the same wherein other religious minorities have performed better than all other religious and caste groups.
The rate of growth of real MPCE had been three per cent for other religious minorities while for the Muslims and Hindus, it was 1.9. For the SCs and STs it was 1.7 during the period of 1993-94 to 2009-10.