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Expressing dissent over claims of the Gujarat government that Muslims in the state are better off, educationally, socially and economically, than the rest of India, senior economist with the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Delhi, Abusaleh Shariff said, “Poverty among Muslims in Gujarat is eight times (800%) more than high caste Hindus, about 50 per cent more than OBC Hindus and the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). In a study, “Gujarat Shining: Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials”, Shariff, who was member-secretary of the Prime Minister’s Committee to assess the social, economic and educational status of Muslims of India, or Sachar Committee, says, things are not very different for the Muslims in the rural areas.
“Rural poverty among the Muslims is two times (200%) more than the high caste Hindus,” he says. The economist says, “Startling is the fact that in recent years it is high caste Hindus who have benefited most from the public provisioning of higher education and the SCs/STs are catching up and the Muslims are left behind.