New Delhi: In an outreach to the Muslim community, the Maharashtra government has appointed the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to study the status of Muslims in the state to help bring the community into the mainstream of economic and educational development.
The Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government has also sanctioned Rs 33.92 lakh for the project to take shape and enable TISS to carry out a study to pinpoint the various problems and issues that need to be sorted to improve the living and educational conditions of Muslims in the state.
In Maharashtra, Muslims constitute nearly 11 per cent of the total population.
The study will also find out how much the community has benefitted since the last time such an outreach programme was undertaken after the Mahmoodur Rahman Committee report was submitted to the state government in 2013.
The Maharashtra government had set up the Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee to study the educational, social, and economic backwardness of Muslims in 2008. Its responsibility was to study the issues hampering day-to-day livelihood of Muslims and suggest measures to deal with the same. On the ground, a section of the community feel that not much has changed since the last panel submitted its report while others are of the opinion that various state governments have been attempting to sort out issues unique to the Muslim population in the state.
In 2014, the then Congress-NCP coalition government had announced a 5% reservation for Muslims in government jobs and also in the educational sector. However, before the community could comprehend any of the benefits that were likely to emerge out of the reservation, the Bombay High Court put aside the government notification in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) but concurred that Muslims could be given reservation in education.
After the court ruling, the BJP-led government that came to power in 2014 chose not to continue with Muslim reservation claiming it was not in favour of giving reservation on the basis of religion alone.