Among the sections of the population in Bihar which was
bypassed by the development process in various degrees, the Muslims form a
major part. Although Muslims are not a homogeneous community in terms of their
socio-economic characteristics, a majority of them suffers from the common
problems of low income, widespread literacy and many other social, political,
psychological and cultural disadvantages. Since they constitute no less than 17
percent of the population of Bihar, the overall progress of the state is not
possible, without Muslims being integrated with the general population.
Unfortunately, even at the national level, there is
currently no policy framework or guideline to address the predicaments of the
Muslims, particularly the Muslim youth. Most national policies like those on
population, education, gender issues or the very recent skill development,
embrace an umbrella framework and refuse to even mention the need for a special
focus on Muslims, leave alone identifying their specific needs. Over the years,
this has ensured a practice of persistent denial to the Muslim population,
resulting in their present seriously disadvantaged social and economic status.
Since Bihar has a substantial Muslim population, this policy void has serious
implications for the state's development strategy.
In order to address the development needs and growth
deficit of Muslims youths in Bihar, it is first necessary to know their present
socio-economic status and identify the disadvantages and discriminations they
face in various spheres. In this background, at the request of the United
Nations Fund Population Action (UNFPA), the Asian Development Research
Institute (ADRI), Patna is planning a study which has the following objectives
-(a) Profiling Muslim youth in Bihar,(b) Assess the appropriateness and
effectiveness of major state policies (population policy, women empowerment
policy, education policy, skills policy etc.) in addressing the growth deficit amongst
the Muslim youth, (c) Assess the efficacies of existing government programmes
and entitlements in addressing the needs of Muslim youth, and (d) Understand
and document the needs and demand of Muslim youth through consultations.
The basic purpose of the two-day Workshop is to
prepare the outlines of the methodology for the proposed study. Apart from
identifying the set of indicators that could describe the socio-economic status
of Muslim youth in Bihar, the methodology should also indicate the qualitative
dimensions of their socio-economic profile. Further, the Workshop should also
prepare the guidelines for the consultations that the research team plans to
hold with the Muslim population in general and its youth section in particular.
On Day 1 of the Workshop,its Inaugural Session will be
attended by a number of scholars, administrators and members of the civil
society. On Day 2, a small group of people (again scholars, administrators and
members of civil Society) will interact in the Workshop to prepare the methodological
base of the proposed study.