Murshidabad, well known for its silk production is also infamous for poverty and hunger deathss. In 2005, The Hong-Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has alerted that people in Murshidabad district are dying of starvation while the communist government authorities have not taken any effective action to stop the deaths. 1.47% of India’s rural poor live in Murshidabad were majority of the people are Muslims with an average literacy rate of 66%. The West Bengal government is letting its people starve in violation of its constitutional obligations, and those under international laws. Aveek Datta and Romita Datta writes about impacts of poverty in Murshidabad. (courtesy: livemint)
Kolkata: Murshidabad district, renowned for the opulence of Nawabi rule when it hosted the capital of undivided Bengal in the 18th century, is today home to the maximum number of poor people in the country, according to the first official assessment of poverty across 575 districts. Suburban Mumbai was found to be the worst in terms of urban poverty, according to the Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), which is conducting the study for the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Some 1.47% of India’s rural poor live in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. About 3 million people–or 56% of the district’s rural population–are below the so-called poverty line. Although urban areas of Murshidabad are better off, some 347,844 people, or 36.69% of the district’s urban population, are classified as poor.
The statistics illustrate the sorry story of a once-prosperous centre of the silk trade that was said to match London for its splendour during the years of Nawabi rule. Murshidabad, which takes its name from Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, was the capital of undivided Bengal (which included Bangladesh), Bihar and Orissa between 1704 and 1790 under Muslim and British rulers.
ISI’s study is based on consumption data collated by the National Sample Survey Organisation, or NSSO, from around 124,000 households across the country in 2004-5. Every five years, NSSO collects consumption data from across the country.The data includes almost everything of daily household use — cereals and pulses to fish and meat and medicines.
India had some 270 million poor people in all when in 2004-05 the consumption data was last collected.
“By now, according to statistical estimates, the figure has gone up by 20%, or about five-and-a-half crore (55 million) people,” said Buddhadeb Ghosh, associate scientist in the ISI’s economic research unit, who is leading the project and will be submitting his report to the Union government in a few weeks.
“In India, the absolute number of poor people doesn’t ever come down, though poverty, as a percentage of national population, declines,” added Ghosh.