Seema Chishti Posted online: Thu Sep 08 2011, 03:18 hrs
New Delhi : Dr Abu Saleh Shariff is an angry man these days. The economist and former member-secretary of the Prime Minister’s high-level committee on social, educational and economic status of Muslims, which submitted its report five years ago, is annoyed that the government has squandered opportunities provided by Justice Rajinder Sachar Report and not put in place a proper assessment and monitoring system.
He claims to have written to the PM and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission last month on issues ignored by the Centre.
An independent study conducted by Shariff is set to reveal next month that on certain crucial variables Muslims are “worse off compared to other social groups”.
“This holds true for a very key factor like school enrolment ratios. While the number of children in school has gone up for all communities, for Muslims the figure is worryingly lower than when we gave the Sachar report.”
Shariff has been excluded from the Planning Commission’s committee for assessment and monitoring (reconstituted in the year 2010 and headed jointly by Syeda Hameed and Narendra Jadhav).
The previous assessment and monitoring committee had Shariff and M A Basith, both members of the Sachar Committee, on board.
The new committee, says Shariff, “has no one competent to take on the government data and ask questions”.
Reacting to Shariff’s complaints that he has been “unceremoniously” shown the door, Syeda Hameed said: “The changes were made last year and we have met thrice since then. We sent out thank-you letters to all outgoing members.” But Shariff denies this.