Archive for the ‘Business India’ Category

Pity the Brahmins

January 18, 2008

A signal achievement of the Indian elite in recent years has been to take caste, give it a fresh coat of paint, and repackage it as a struggle for equality.

The agitations in the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and other such institutions were fine examples of this. Casteism is no longer in defensive denial the way it once was. (”Oh, caste? That was 50 years ago, now it barely exists.”) Today, it asserts that caste is killing the nation–but its victims are the upper castes. And the villains are the lower orders who crowd them out of the seats and jobs long held by those with merit in their genes.

This allows for a happy situation. You can practise casteism of a visceral kind–and feel noble about it. You are, after all, standing up for equal rights, calling for a caste-free society. Truth and justice are on your side. More importantly, so are the media.

Remember how the AIIMS agitation was covered?

(more…)

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Fears of social unrest ahead as India’s rise creates new underclass

January 5, 2008

Double-edged boom hits India’s poor

Fears of social unrest ahead as country’s rise creates new underclass
From Raymond Thibodeaux in New Delhi

EVEN AMID the chaotic swarm of Delhi’s traffic, with horns blaring and trucks and buses rumbling past, Omprekash Takur’s place of business remains a bastion of stillness and calm. Which is a good thing, as Takur’s speciality is open-razor shaves.

Takur has spent nearly 10 years at this barber shop, or what passes for a barber shop: a small stretch of pavement with a rusted chair, a plastic table for his shaving kit, two pairs of scissors, a comb and a square mirror hanging from a nail driven into the trunk of a tamarind tree, its leaves darkened by soot and dust kicked up by the traffic.

“My father taught me to do this when I was seven and I’ve been doing it ever since. My teachers would beat me for skipping classes, but I enjoyed making money from cutting hair,” said the slight, dark-skinned Takur, now 27, as he loaded a fresh blade into the razor.
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India’s city streets are filled with people like Takur – barbers, ear cleaners, cobblers and tailors, a rag-tag platoon of kerbside personal assistants for the country’s urban masses. But for many of them, India’s economic rise has chipped away at their client base as a growing number of Indians are better able to afford more upmarket versions of their services at newly sprouted shopping malls.

The huge wealth being generated by India’s booming economy has been slow to trickle down to the street level, where most of the country’s 400 million workers ply their trades. Typically, they are poorly educated and semi-skilled, and toil away in a shadowy, informal economy that falls under the radar of most government controls and protections.

As India’s rises, the gap between rich and poor appears to be widening. With a 6% inflation rate, the new India seems to be backfiring on the poor, who are hardest hit by increases in the cost of basic necessities such as food and shelter. This has stoked fears of a looming social turmoil in this country of 1.1 billion people, as a growing and increasingly restive underclass is left to fend for itself as India’s economic tide turns.

“These are our electricians, our plumbers, our housemaids and our drivers. They are the backbone of our economic success, and yet they live in slums,” said Ranjana Kumari, director for the Centre of Social Research in New Delhi, a non-governmental agency focused on India’s workplace.

“There is a serious flaw in the government policies that guide our economy. There needs to be more government initiative to care for these workers and give them a bigger share of the wealth.”

So far, India’s pro-growth government has been reluctant to burden businesses with costly regulations that would do just that. And many Indian companies have been unwilling to absorb them as formal employees, who would then be entitled to the few perks already required by law: health benefits, pension plans, holidays and severance pay.

As a result, about 93% of India’s workforce remains informal and unorganised.

“Ideally, we want to formalise our entire workforce, give them pensions and health benefits and so on, but that’s going to take a long time,” said Pronab Sen, the Indian government’s chief statistician. Part of the hold-up is that more and more rural Indians are abandoning their farms and moving to urban areas to seek better jobs as rickshaw drivers, street sweepers and barbers. These workers are hard to keep track of and much harder to organise.

“The informal sector is an extremely important transition between the rural areas and the cities. It allows the people to learn different trades that are more useful and better-paying,” Sen said.

In the shade of the tamarind tree, Takur dipped his shaving brush in hot water and lathered up another scruffy face, his third in the space of an hour. He said he usually rakes in at least £3 a day, three times the daily wage of most Indians. It’s enough to support his wife and his three sons, aged six, four and two.

Asked how India’s boom had benefited him, he said: “It hasn’t.” But a client, a rickshaw taxi driver waiting his turn in the barber’s chair, pointed out that Takur had doubled his prices since last year.

“Yes, that’s true, but that is not really a benefit to me,” said Takur, using his palm to wipe shaving cream off the razor. “My supplies are costing more, so I must pass that on to my customer.”

Sunday Herald

More than 15 million rural household in India are landless

December 22, 2007

NEW DELHI: More than 15 million rural households in India are landless. Another 45 million rural families own some land, less than 0.10 acre each, which is hardly enough to make them self- sufficient, let alone generate a profit.

To benefit landless farm workers and small farmers, most States either prohibit or restrict renting of farmland. Where the law prohibits tenancy, the practice continues informally with the illegal tenants receiving no recognition or protection under the law.

In a research done by the Washington-based Rural Development Institute (RDI), it has been found that rental restrictions have backfired and are preventing poor families from accessing land.
Livelihood benefits

Plots larger than 1,300 square feet generally provide the most economic and social benefits per square foot. Functionally landless, agricultural labourer families which own a plot typically derive important livelihood benefits such as improved nutrition (microfield plots averaging 0.18 acre and ranging from 0.07 to 0.38 acre provided approximately 18 to 91 per cent of the families’ grain requirements), income, place for residence, enhanced social status and access to credit, and bargaining leverage in labour markets.

The survey suggests that 340 million people in India are dependent largely on agricultural wage labour, $1 or less a day.

Global research shows that landlessness is the best predicator of poverty in India — a much better predicator than either illiteracy or membership of a traditionally “untouchable” caste.

Obtaining property rights can positively impact women’s lives, including increasing physical and economic security, and enhancing wellbeing and status in marriage and community.
Domestic violence

A cessation of domestic violence can be traced (at least in part) to the receipt of property rights in some cases, says the survey.

The RDI is working with non-governmental organisations and government partners for changing policy and legislation to require that land be granted jointly to husbands and wives or independently to women.
Women empowered

Owning land, women are empowered and income is more likely to improve the welfare of the family.

West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh recently budgeted over $11 million to provide landless families with microplots, on which they can build shelter and cultivate a home garden for family diet and income.

http://www.rdiland.org/

World Bank debars 2 firms in Indian child health project

December 21, 2007

WASHINGTON: In its global fight against corruption, the World Bank has debarred two firms for alleged collusive practices in connection with the Bank-financed Reproductive and Child Health Project in India.

The two firms, Nestor Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Pure Pharma Ltd were debarred for a period of three years and one year respectively after a sanctions hearing in fiscal year 2007, according to a new Bank report.

The hearing followed approval by the World Bank Group Board of a broad new set of reforms to the Bank’s sanctions regime in fiscal year 2007 that will help ensure uniform compliance with the highest ethical standards in all aspects of Bank-financed projects around the world, the Annual Integrity Report said.

The World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) also undertook a Detailed Implementation Review or DIR of five projects across the Bank Group’s health portfolio in India, which is to be completed and provided to the region in financial year 2008.

INT, the report said, has greatly increased its use of DIR, which is a proactive diagnostic tool that uses forensic accounting and investigative techniques to examine Bank projects in a given country for indicators of fraud and corruption. INT completed two DIRs in fiscal year 2007 in Kenya and Vietnam.

INT made significant contributions to the global fight against corruption in fiscal year 2007, with a 25 per cent increase in closed investigations from the previous fiscal year.

It also launched a voluntary disclosure programme to deter private-sector corruption, and reached agreement on a coordinated approach to rooting out corruption among the international financial institutions.

“Corruption is a cancer that steals from the poor, eats away at governance and moral fibre, and destroys trust,” said World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. “The challenge for the World Bank is how best to diagnose, determine, and clean out corruption in concert with developing and developed countries.”

According to the report, “Improving Development Outcomes: Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Integrity Report”, INT closed a total of 301 cases in fiscal Year 2007 ended June 30.

These included both cases of fraud and corruption in Bank-financed projects and cases of alleged staff misconduct, an increase of 60 cases from fiscal year 2006. In addition, the total carryover of open cases into fiscal year 2008 was 232, a decrease of 62 cases (21 per cent) from the fiscal year 2006 backlog and the lowest year-end total since fiscal year 2002.

Economic Times, 20 Dec 2007 

How RSS exported terror to Malaysia?

December 9, 2007

A Malaysian Hindu devotee shows the Kavadi on his face during the annual festival of Thaipusam in Penang Island, Malyasia, Friday. The Hindus carry kavadi, spiking their tongues or cheeks to purify themselves and ask for blessings. — AP/PTIIn 2006, Malaysia offered VOA (Visa on Arrivals) to Indian and Chinese passport holders to boost tourism and thus its economy. In the same year, Malaysian immigration records found that 2,789 Indian tourists had overstayed followed by 355 from China after they introduced VOA to both nations. Alarmed by the influx from Chennai, Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry later declared VOA would no longer be issued to those from Chennai as too many of them had over stayed from that particular region. But the Tamil aspirants reached Malaysia through another ports of India.

Hindutva terror groups in India should have misused “Visa on Arrival” offered by Malaysia to export its trainers and train dissatisfied Hindu youths or gangsters. RSS use charity foundations, Non Resident Indian Associations, research centers and media personnel around the globe to propagate its Hindutva goals. To any investigation agency, it is hard to distinguish Hindutva organizations from its name.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam is the local collaborator of RSS in Malaysia, which closely work with rich hindutva expatriate work force in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand . By planting Hindutva bigots in its branches RSS has transformed the Dravidian festivals to accommodate more of its Aryan deities like Ganesha. For long time, festivals and celebrations has been misused by RSS to promote its political agenda of intolerance. For a scientific study on the issue, Please Read this Article, Hindutva Consolidation and Conscription in Tamil Nadu Through Celebrations by the dalit scholar, Meena Kandasamy.

RSS usually recruit and export “pracharak” for PR and “Shishak (trainer)” for physical terror. RSS constitution bar them from being married. Former PM of India, AB Vajpayee known to be a bachelor. But most of the new generation trainers are gangsters turned gurus who are addicted to sex, liquor and drug. “Boudhik Pramukh” is the real player in RSS. While physical operations are left for lower caste Hindus, this intellectual position will be hold by a crooked Brahmin. It is like American troops hire more blacks for field operations. Now, the home ministry of Malaysia should trace any illegals who is having links to Hindutva and Tamil terror groups. This will assure peaceful life to migrant Indian community and Malaysian society. Our Indian nationals account for 19.6 per cent of the total expatriate work force in Malaysia . By falsely alleging of “Ethnic Cleansing” Hindu Right Action Force leaders are risking the life of thousands of Tamils who want to find a job in Malaysia.

The folly of India’s ‘ Athidhi Devo Bhava! (Where the guest is treated as God)

Unlike Malaysia, Indian immigration doesn’t welcome foreigners to visit India. VOA facilities are not available to anyone. Easier entry to India is virtually limited to countries with considerable Hindu population. For eg, Nepal, Mauritius, etc. India is very much a closed country than China. The Hindu elite leaders of the country always concerned about its physical boundaries and national security rather than the life of its 85 % downtrodden poor people. Even though India is blessed with beautiful nature than Malaysia, its share in world tourism map, was hovering between 0.38% to 0.39% for number of years. Irrespective of its huge area, the foreign exchange earned from tourism in India was merely $2.61 billion (2006).

Indian Embassies are rated as the worst service providers around the globe. They are notorious for ‘red tapes‘ and ‘ corruption friendly service‘ by Non Resident Indians itself. Don’t believe me. Step in to any Indian diplomatic mission near to you and you will feel the difference. This flickr foto shows the Long line outside the Indian High Commission, UK.

Baseless allegations and fake statistics are the fundamental strategy of Hindutva zealots in India. Often critics call them as Rumor Spreading Society. Their ability to create rumors and to spread them instantly are the main cause of communal riots over India’s minorities. Many inquiry commissions on communal riots in India, surprised by RSS ability to spark communal tension with rumours.

Since HINDRAF is trained by the Hindutva hooligans in India, they will use same tactics of RSS. SMS messaging, E-mails, Internet Forums, Blogs are widely used by Hindutva militia to spread hatred messages against their targets. According to these Hindutva bigots, minorities in India should be stoned to death but Hindus should live like the majority community everywhere they go including Malaysia. This is a plain case of hypocrisy in action.

Recently, a national report on the employment situation in India has warned that nearly 30 percent of the country’s 716 million-strong workforce will be without jobs by 2020. When Indians are fleeing around the world to find a job, how can this hindutva idiots can claim on “National Pride of India”? Hindutva Idiots, Your false pride and actions make our life miserable.

Government of India doesn’t have the resources or political will to find jobs for such a large population. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Overseas Indians should not endorse the HINDRAF bigots as the sole representative of Malaysian Indians. So far, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, President of India’s ruling party (Indian National Congress ) did n’t met those Malaysian Hinduva Bigots. That is a good message from Government of India to the immigrant Indian community around the globe.

utube.pngWatch how Hindutva Mafia executed Mass Killings of Muslims in Gujarat

India drops down 2 places in HDI, ranks 128th

November 28, 2007

India growing? It’s not showing, Country unable to break out of class of laggards in UN assessment

The world’s second highest economic growth rate has not yet helped India hoist itself away from its customary position in the global development report card.

The Human Development Report for 2007-08 released by the UNDP today ranked India 128 out of 177 countries, working it out through measures of life expectancy, education and income.

India’s human development index (HDI) of 0.619 puts it just below Equatorial Guinea (0.642) and Solomon Islands (0.602). India’s life expectancy of 63.7 years is sandwiched between Comoros (64.1) and Mauritania (63.2), while Malawi and Rwanda have higher adult literacy than India.

The report found that India’s GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is $3,452, far below China’s $6,757.

Iceland is at the top with Norway, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, France, the US, the UK, Israel, and Singapore among the top 25 nations in the development chart.

India was ranked 126 by the HDR 2006, a rung higher than the previous year’s 127. This year, it continues to be dubbed a country at medium level of human development.

An economist said he was not surprised that the country’s impressive economic growth rate — only China’s growth surpasses India’s 9 per cent — was not reflected in the human development report.

“Our growth has been lopsided, and has not yet percolated to the masses,” Shyama Prasad Gupta, an economist and a former member of the Planning Commission, said,

India’s richest 20 per cent account for about 31 per cent of the share of income or expenditure, while the poorest 20 per cent account for around 8 per cent, the report said.

“We have two countries in one,” said Abhay Shukla, senior programme coordinator with Sathi-Cehat, a non-government organisation engaged in health and development issues.

The report has ranked India 62 among 108 developing countries in its human poverty index which measures severe deprivation in health in people who are not expected to survive age 40.

“We’re witnessing something called development polarisation. About 20 per cent of the population is showing low mortality and low fertility, key features associated with development, but in the rest of the population we don’t see this change in any significant way,” Shukla said.

The UNDP report suggests that India’s commitment to education measured through public spending dropped from 12 per cent of total government expenditure in 1991 to 10 per cent in 2005.

India’s public spending on health is only 0.9 per cent of its GDP, a fraction of 8.3 per cent in Iceland, 6.9 per cent in the US, 7 per cent in the UK, and lower than China’s 1.8 per cent.

Full report is here http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

India, Where paradoxes reign supreme

November 26, 2007

It has become a cliché to speak of India as a land of paradoxes. The old joke about our country is that anything you say about India, the opposite is also true. We like to think of ourselves as an ancient civilisation but we are also a young republic; our IT experts stride confidently into the 21st century but much of our population seems to live in each of the other 20 centuries. Quite often the opposites co-exist quite cheerfully.

One of my favourite images of India is from the last Kumbha mela, of a naked sadhu, with matted hair, ash-smeared forehead and scraggly beard, for all the world a picture of timeless other-worldliness, chatting away on a cellphone. I even suggested it to the publishers of my newest book of essays on India as a perfect cover image, but they assured me it was so well-known that it had become a cliché in itself.

And yet, clichés are clichés because they are true, and the paradoxes of India say something painfully real about our society.

How does one come to terms with a country whose population is still nearly 40% illiterate but which has educated the world’s second-largest pool of trained scientists and engineers, many of whom are making a flourishing living in Silicon Valley? How does one explain a land where peasant organisations and suspicious officials once attempted to close down Kentucky Fried Chicken as a threat to the nation, where a former prime minister bitterly criticised the sale of Pepsi-Cola since 250 million of our countrymen and women don’t have access to clean drinking water, and which yet invents more sophisticated software for the world’s computer manufacturers than any other country on the planet? A place where bullock carts are still an indispensable mode of transportation for millions, but whose rocket and satellite programmes are amongst the most advanced on earth?

The paradoxes go well beyond the nature of our entry into the 21st century. Our teeming cities overflow while two out of three Indians still scratch a living from the soil. We have been recognised, for all practical purposes, as a leading nuclear power, but 600 million Indians still have no access to electricity and there are daily power cuts even in the nation’s capital.

Ours is a culture which elevated non-violence to an effective moral principle, but whose freedom was born in blood and whose independence still soaks in it. We are the world’s leading manufacturers of generic medication for illnesses such as AIDS, but we have three million of our own citizens without access to AIDS medication, another two million with TB, and tens of millions with no health centre or clinic within 10 kilometres of their places of residence.

Bollywood makes four times as many movies as Hollywood, but 150 million Indians cannot see them, because they are blind. India holds the world record for the number of cellphones sold (8.5 million last month), but also for the number of farmer suicides (4000 in the Vidarbha district of Maharashtra alone last year).

This month, in mid-November, the prestigious Forbes magazine list of the world’s top billionaires made room for 10 new Indian names. The four richest Indians in the world are collectively worth a staggering $180 billion, greater than the GDP of a majority of member states of the United Nations. Indian papers have reported with undisguised glee that these four (Lakshmi Mittal, the two Ambani brothers, and DLF chief K P Singh) are worth more than the 40 richest Chinese combined.

We seem to find less space in our papers to note that though we have more dollar billionaires than in any country in Asia – even more than Japan, which has been richer longer – we also have 260 million people living below the poverty line. And it’s not the World Bank’s poverty line of $1 a day, but the Indian poverty line of Rs 360 a month, or 30 cents a day – in other words, a line that’s been drawn just this side of the funeral pyre.

Last month, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex crossed 20,000, just 20 months after it had first hit 10,000; but on the same day, some 25,000 landless people marched to Parliament, clamouring for land reform and justice. We have trained world-class scientists and engineers, but 400 million of our compatriots are illiterate, and we also have more children who have not seen the inside of a school than any other country in the world does.

We have a great demographic advantage in 540 million young people under 25 (which means we should have a dynamic, youthful and productive workforce for the next 40 years when the rest of the world, including China, is ageing) but we also have 60 million child labourers, and 72% of the children in our government schools drop out by the eighth standard. We celebrate India’s IT triumphs, but information technology has employed a grand total of 1 million people in the last five years, while 10 million are entering the workforce each year and we don’t have jobs for them.

Many of our urban youth rightly say with confidence that their future will be better than their parents’ past, but there are Maoist insurgencies violently disturbing the peace in 165 of India’s 602 districts, and these are largely made up of unemployed young men.

So yes, we are a land of paradoxes, and amongst those paradoxes is that so many of us speak about India as a great power of the 21st century when we are not yet able to feed, educate and employ our people. And yet, India is more than the sum of its contradictions. It may be a country rife with despair and disrepair, but it nonetheless moved a Mughal Emperor to declaim, ‘‘if on earth there be paradise of bliss, it is this, it is this, it is this…’’ We just have a lot more to do before it can be anything like paradise for the vast majority of our fellow citizens.

25 Nov 2007, 0000 hrs IST,Shashi Tharoor, Times of India

Farmers commit suicides in India’s developed states

November 23, 2007

22 Nov 2007, Vishwa Mohan & Nitin Sethi,TNN

NEW DELHI: Data derived from first information reports filed all over the country and compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau has revealed that it is the farmer in economically more developed states, not traditional BIMARU ones, who is the most vulnerable.

What the statistics bring out clearly is that the misfortune of living in states with scarce opportunities is not the most important trigger. Its not states like Bihar and UP which have the worst situations. States that do well on counts of industrialisation and development indices – Maharashtra, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – have the worst report cards. West Bengal, where land reforms are said to have improved conditions in the countryside, is not doing too well either.

In Maharashtra, 3,926 farmers committed suicide in 2005 alone. That is more than one-fourth of the total toll in the state. Andhra follows with 2,490. Karnataka reported 1,883. Surprisingly, unlike other “backward” states, Chhattisgarh reported a higher tally (1,412) than Tamil Nadu (1,255), Madhya PradeshP (1,248), Kerala (1,118) and West Bengal (965).

While the data – presented in statistical terms – does not touch upon reasons, it is easy to see worrying trends in states that have adopted the cash-crop economy extensively and have wide disparities in terms of urban-rural areas, as well as within rural areas. Vidarbha is a good example of regional disparity even as its largest city Nagpur, records an economic boom driven by construction. Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s much-reported intervention, Vidarbha farmers remain economically crippled.

In comparison, backward states, with the exception of Chhattisgarh, are better off. So, UP with a huge 16.5% share of the population, accounts for only 3% of the national toll of all suicides, including those by farmers. The big state reported only 522 suicides in 2005. The figures for Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand for the year, in that order, were 254, 124 and 39.

NCRB has come up with provisional figures for 2006 and these are gross figures for all states. The total numbers have risen, but the bare statistics can provide partial perspectives.

Due to the collapse of village economy, there is a collateral fallout in terms of ancillary workers and some of 18,759 people who committed suicides in 2005 in the worst-affected states are classified as self-employed, as different from being involved in a business or professional activity, might be victims of rural crisis.

Considering that NCRB records do not bring out “bankruptcy” as one of the major factors despite the fact about indebtedness forcing farmers to end their lives, the government needs to rework the classifications. Perhaps room may have to be made to factor in the role of loss of esteem that forces farmers to commit suicide.

Even tiny Puducherry had recorded 147 suicides by farmers in 2005. That is more than the number recorded in all other UTs put together. Similarly, there is Bengal which recorded 965 suicides, much higher than most of the states.

150 million rich produced 4.5 times more carbon emissions than the 800 million poor Indians

November 14, 2007

Greenpeace calls for pollution tax on India’s 150 million rich

France24.com, 13 Nov 2007

India’s wealthy consumers, who make up a fraction of its 1.1 billion population, are fuelling the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and should be required to pay extra tax, an environmental watchdog said on Tuesday.

Some 150 million Indians, splurging on luxury goods and air travel, produced 4.5 times more carbon emissions than the 800 million poor, according to a Greenpeace report entitled “Hiding Behind The Poor”.

The government should not use its average low carbon per capita emissions as a reason not to try to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released, said Greenpeace India chief, G. Ananthapadmanabhan.

A “relatively small wealthy class (of) … over 150 million Indians are emitting above the sustainable limit which needs to be maintained to restrict global temperature rise to below two degree centigrade,” he told reporters.

New Delhi has refused to accept caps on carbon dioxide emissions, saying doing so would hurt economic growth needed to pull millions out of poverty.

The government has also said that its per capita greenhouse gas emissions are low, accounting for 23 percent of the global average.

India’s position on UN climate change negotiations would be strengthened if New Delhi made the rich pay a special tax for higher carbon emissions, Ananthapadmanabhan said.

“India has always asked the developed nations to reduce its carbon emissions and allow developing nations the carbon space to grow,” he said. “We would be in a stronger position to point fingers if we acted ourselves.”

Besides the well-off, defined as those earning above 8,000 rupees (205 dollars) a month, India’s coal-based thermal power plants add to carbon dioxide emissions, the report said.

The Greenpeace findings were based on a survey of 819 families belonging to seven different income groups across India.

Muslims and Dalits discriminated in corporate India

October 30, 2007

For some time now and especially after publication of Sachar Committee Report Muslims put much emphasis on acquiring modern education. In rapidly globalized economy of India, education was promised to be the key to a brighter future for Muslim kids.

A recent study, however, finds that getting a call for interview can be reduced to as much as 33% for a candidate with Muslim names compared to an equivalent-qualified candidate with high caste Hindu name.

Study was lead by Chairperson of the University Grants Commission Prof. Sukhdeo Thorat and Paul Attewell of City University of New York. Beginning in October 2005 and lasting 66 weeks the study involved responding to job advertisements appearing in national and regional English newspapers with sets of resumes that were similar except for names. For each advertised position researchers sent applications with identical qualifications and experience that differed only in names. There was no explicit mention of caste or religion but names were easily identifiable as upper caste Hindu name, Dalit or Muslim names.

Only private companies were targeted and jobs that required little or no experience. In 66 weeks, researchers sent 4808 applications in response to 548 job advertisements. A call for interview or for a written test was considered a success for that application. Researchers were looking to see if chances of receiving an interview call are same for a high caste, a Dalit and a Muslim name.

Two statistical methods on the data resulted in a similar outcome. One method suggested that odds for a Dalit name is 0.67 and for a Muslim name is 0.33 to receive an interview call as compared to an equally qualified applicant with a high caste Hindu name. Another method gave the odds 0.68 and 0.35 for Dalits and Muslims, respectively. Both statistical models results are statistically significant which means that it is highly unlikely for this to happen by random chance.

The researchers concluded that “having a high-caste name considerably improves a job applicant’s chances of a positive outcome” adding that “on average, college-educated lower-caste and Muslim job applicants fare less well than equivalently- qualified applicants with high caste names, when applying by mail for employment with the modern private-enterprise sector.”

This is not surprising; Sachar Committee also found that private sectors had a dismal representation of Muslims. Sachar Committee recommended sensitizing private sector about diversity in their work force and suggested boosting Muslims recruitment through positive discrimination and affirmative action. Sachar Committee Report proposed the idea of an incentive based ‘diversity index.’

Sachar Committee Report also noted that “our data shows when Muslims appear for the prescribed tests and interviews their success rate is appreciable. This applies both to the public and private sector jobs.” But the present study suggests that any Muslim has about one third of a chance for landing that test or interview compared to a high caste Hindu.

Thorat and Attewell in their research article published in October 13th, 2007 issue of Economic and Political Weekly write that despite legal safeguards when a social group remains backward then it is blamed on group’s low level of education. These two who have been studying discrimination in United States and India states that discrimination is not acknowledged in a modern capitalist economy.

This study conclusively proves that there is discrimination in corporate India against Dalits and Muslims, with Muslims suffering the most.

“These were all highly-educated and appropriately qualified applicants attempting to enter the modern private sector, yet even in this sector, caste and religion proved influential in determining ones job chances,” researchers commented.

twocircles