- Congress rejects new report on ‘Muslim Backwardness’, calls it fabricated
- Shabbir Ali accuses Owaisi of manipulating statistics to bail out KCR
Hyderabad, September 30, 2021: The Congress party on Thursday rejected the new report on ‘Muslim backwardness’ presented by AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi demanding Rs. 10 lakh assistance for poor 9,000 Muslim families and claimed that more than 5 lakh poor Muslim families were eligible to get the assistance.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Political Affairs Committee Convener and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir, in a media statement on Thursday, claimed that more than 5 lakh poor Muslim families were eligible to get Rs. 10 Lakh each on par with Dalit families who are being covered under the ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme. “Ever since the launch of Dalit Bandhu, Congress party has been demanding ‘Minorities Bandhu’ and payment of Rs. 10 Lakh each for all poor Muslim families. Instead of accepting our demand, Asauddin Owaisi and CM KCR have hatched a plan to cheat the Muslim community of Telangana. They’ve used the data compiled by a Commission of Inquiry in 2015-16 and manipulated it to show that out of 8.80 lakh Muslim households, only 9,000 Muslim families are eligible to get the ‘Minorities Bandhu’ benefit,” he alleged.
Shabbir Ali said that the Centre for Development Policy and Practice (CDPP), an NGO, came up with a report “Situating Development of Muslims in Telangana – Policy Implications’. The entire report is based on the data collected by the Commission of Inquiry headed by retired IAS officer G. Sudhir in 2015-16. Speculative and misleading analysis was done in the report to show that only 1% of the Muslims were poor. Although the report was authored by three other persons, eminent personalities like Amitabh Kundu, G. Sudhir, Amir Ullah Khan and others were invited to the meeting to mislead the people. “This report was prepared only to deny the Muslims, the benefit of ‘Minorities Bandhu’ which CM KCR is yet to announce,” he said.
It was claimed in the report the Muslim population in Telangana was 48.30 lakh and there are 8.80 lakh Muslim households. It also claimed that only 8.5% of Muslims Households are living Below Poverty Line. Therefore, a “Policy Recommendation” was made saying that 1% of these poor Muslims Households, i.e., 9,000 households should be given Direct Cash Transfer of Rs. 10 Lakh each which will cost State Govt only Rs. 900 Crore.
Shabbir Ali asked on what basis, they arrived at the conclusion that only 8.5% of Muslims are poor? “This estimation is not based on any official data or any scientific analysis. This report was prepared with manipulated data,” he said.
“Asaduddin Owaisi lives in a palace in Vattepally, Shastripuram. If he conducts a survey in the slums of Vattepally, then he will find more than 9,000 poor Muslim families. Asaduddin Owaisi got 5,17,471 votes in 2019 elections. If we divide this into Households @ 6 voters per family, then nearly 86,245 families voted for him. Is he saying that that except 9,000 families, the remaining 77,245 families are not poor and they don’t need DBT benefit?” he asked.
Shabbir Ali said that there was a huge mismatch between the data, analysis and policy recommendation. He said that the Sudhir Commission, in its report, pointed out that 43% of Muslims are living in rented houses. “Are those poor Muslim families living in rented houses not eligible to get Rs. 10 Lakh assistance?” he asked.
Further, he said as per the report, about 26.5% of the members of the Muslim household work as casual labour in the non-agriculture sector. Only 19.2% of the Muslims are regularly salaried and 16.4% of the Muslim workers are self-employed in non-agricultural activities. “This means 64.4% of Muslims (5.65 Lakh families) have no jobs or regular work. Are they not eligible to get government’s help?” he asked.
“Dalits constitute about 17% of the total population and according to CM KCR himself, nearly 17 lakh families are eligible for Dalit Bandhu scheme. Muslims constitute nearly 13% of the total population. But Owaisi says, only 9,000 Muslims are eligible for the scheme. CM KCR says the government will spend Rs. 1.70 Lakh Crore for Dalits. But Owaisi wants to bail out the government by asking for just Rs. 900 Crore. How can the eligibility criteria be different for Dalits and Muslims? Even if this report is believed, there are at least 74,800 BPL Muslim households @8.5% in the State. Why Owaisi is afraid of demanding Rs. 7,480 crore for these poor families?” he asked.
Shabbir Ali said that the actual percentage of poor Muslims was much higher than estimated in this report. “Telangana Govt distributes 4.50 Lakh Ramzan gift packs among poor Muslims. Why all those families are not eligible for Rs. 10 lakh package? Why all White Ration cardholders should not be given the same benefit?” he asked.
Shabbir Ali alleged that by presenting a manipulated report, Owaisi caused more harm than good. He feared that this report might be used in the court to sabotage the case of 4% Muslim reservation in the Supreme Court. “RSS, BJP and Sangh Parivar will use this data to claim that only 1% of Muslims are poor. Therefore, they will try to scrap the existing 4% Muslim reservation in jobs and education given by the previous Congress regime in 2004-05. This will also have an impact on all other welfare schemes,” he said.
“Congress party rejects this report and demands that all BPL families, belonging to SC, ST, BC, Minorities and other communities be extended the benefit on par with ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme. We are not begging with the government. We are demanding an equal and deserving share, as per the Constitution. We will explore all legal means to get justice for the minorities and other communities,” he said.