Muslims need quota more than Hindu OBCs: IIM-A study

An IIM-Ahmedabad analysis of education and employment amongst Muslims in the country has concluded that the minority community has a higher perception of "unfairness" and "discrimination" and that Muslims have, in fact, a stronger case for reservations than the Hindu OBCs.

Incidentally, a Central government notification in December 2011 to effect 4.5 per cent minority quota in Central educational institutes was stayed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court earlier this year and is currently pending in court.

'Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An analysis of Patterns and Trends' by Rakesh Basant of IIM-A says that extensive interactions with Muslims show that they carry the "double burden of being labelled as 'anti-nationalist' and being appeased at the same time". Course correction, the study says, can be effected through targeted affirmative action, increased participation in governance and incentivising institutes and companies for bringing in diversity.

The report notes a declining gap between Dalits, Adivasis and upper caste Hindus in primary and middle class over the last few years, However, the gap between upper caste Hindus and Muslims is still not declining. The report says that various studies opine that reservations in government employment can potentially enhance returns to educations.

"Indeed, compared to Forward Caste Hindus, the access disadvantage of Muslims was considerably higher than that of Hindu OBCs. So, if the object of jobs reservation is to be extended beyond Dalits, then Muslims have a more compelling case than the Hindu OBC," the study says.

With widespread perception of alienation and discrimination amongst Muslims, especially in communally sensitive states, they are unable to exploit economic opportunities fully. Limited access to good quality schools specially affects girl students and low participation in government jobs adds to their woes.

Muslims appear to largely have borne the brunt of globalisation as most of them are self-employed.

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