Employment and Unemployment Situation among Religious Groups in India from NSS

This report is based on the seventh quinquennial survey on employment and unemployment conducted in the 61st round of NSS from July, 2004 to June, 2005. The survey was spread over 7,999 villages and 4,602 urban blocks covering 1,24,680 households (79,306 in rural areas and 45,374 in urban areas) and enumerating 6,02,833 persons (3,98,025 in rural areas and 2,04,808 in urban areas).In this survey information on religion followed by each household was collected as part of the household characteristics. The reported religion of head of the household was considered as the religion of all the household members irrespective of the actual religion followed by individual members. Seven main religions were identified in the survey. They were Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. Among these the followers of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity formed the three major religious groups. Some of the key findings are stated below: * In rural areas, about 84 per cent per cent of households having 83 per cent of population followed Hinduism whereas 10 per cent of households followed Islam with about 12 per cent of population. Further, about 2 per cent of households and population followed Christianity. In urban areas, the percentage of households and population were about 80 and 77 respectively for Hinduism, 13 and 16 for Islam and 3 and 3 for Christianity. Even after excluding the state of Jammu and Kashmir, having different geographical coverage in different NSS rounds, the proportion of persons by major religious groups remained more or less same.

* The sex ratio was the highest among the Christians (994 in rural and 1000 in urban areas) followed by the Muslims (968 in rural; 932 in urban) and the Hindus (961 in rural; 912 in urban).

* In the rural areas, ‘self-employment’ was the mainstay for all the religious groups. About 37 per cent of Hindu households were dependent on ‘self-employment in agriculture’. The corresponding proportion was 35 per cent for the Christians and 26 per cent for the Muslims. The proportions of households depending on ‘self-employment in nonagriculture’ were 14 per cent for the Hindus, 28 per cent for the Muslims and 15 per cent for the Christians. In the cas*e of ‘rural labour’ households, the proportions varied from 32 per cent (Muslims) to 37 per cent (Hindus). In urban India, the proportion of Hindu households depending on ‘self-employment’, ‘regular wage/salary’ and ‘casual labour’ were 36 per cent, 43 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, whereas the corresponding shares for the Muslims were 49 per cent, 30 per cent and 14 per cent respectively and for the Christians 27 per cent, 47 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

* In rural India, proportion of households in the lowest three monthly per capita expenditure (mpce) classes combined (viz. less than Rs.320 for a month) was highest among Hindus (14 per cent), followed by Muslims (12 per cent) and Christians (8 per cent). In urban India, the proportion of Households in the lowest three mpce classes combined (viz. less than Rs.485 for a month) was the highest among the Muslims (25 per cent) followed by the Hindus (12 per cent) and Christians (8 per cent) On the other hand, in the urban area, proportion of households in the highest three classes of mpce combined (viz. more than Rs.1380 for a month) was 38 per cent for Christians, 28 per cent for Hindus and 13 per cent for Muslims. In rural areas, proportion of households in the highest three classes of mpce combined (viz. more than Rs.690 for a month) was 47 per cent for Christians, 24 per cent for Hindus, and 20 per cent for Muslims.

* The Christians had the lowest illiteracy rate both for rural (20 per cent for males and 31 per cent for females) and urban areas (6 per cent for males and 11 per cent for females). Except for rural females, the proportion of literates among the Hindus was higher than that among the Muslims. Among the rural females, the illiteracy rates were almost equal among the Hindus and the Muslims (59 per cent). The corresponding rate was as low as 31 per cent among the Christians.

* In the rural areas, Worker Population Ratio (WPR) among the males was highest among Christians (56 per cent) followed by Hindus (55 per cent). The corresponding figure for Muslims was lower (50 per cent). As in the case of males, WPR for females for Christians (36 per cent) and Hindus (34 per cent) was much higher than that for Muslims (18 per cent). In urban India, the WPR among the males was the highest among Hindus (56 per cent) followed by Muslims (53 per cent) and the Christians (51 per cent). The WPR for Christian women (24 per cent) was much higher than those among Hindu (17 per cent) and Muslim women (12 per cent).

* For the rural males in the age group 15 years and above, WPR in the educational level secondary and above was the highest among the Hindus (76 per cent) followed by the Christians (72 per cent) and the Muslims (67 per cent). However in urban areas, it was equal (71 per cent) among Muslims and Hindus and lower (64 per cent) among Christians. For the rural females in the same age group with same education level, however, the rates were highest among the Christians (37 per cent) followed by Hindus (30 per cent) and Muslims (18 per cent). Similar pattern was also observed among urban females in the same age group.

* More than half of the workers in the rural areas were self-employed, the proportion being the highest among the Muslim workers both males (60 per cent) and females (75 per cent). In the urban areas also, the same pattern is observed. The proportion of regular wage/salaried workers was highest among Christians in both rural and urban areas among both males and females. The proportion of casual labourers was highest among Hindus for females in both rural (34 per cent) and urban (18 per cent) areas.

* In rural areas, the unemployment rates (URs) were higher among the Christians (4.4 per cent) as compared to those among the Hindus (1.5 per cent) or the Muslims (2.3 per cent). In the urban areas also same pattern was observed. However, the URs in urban areas were more or less same for Hindu and Muslims (4 per cent). Further URs for females were generally higher in all major religious groups as compared to males in both rural and urban areas. The UR was highest (14 per cent) among the urban Christian women.

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