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Overview of Minority communities in India

This topic provides information about Overview of Minority communities in India.

Definition of Minority Communities

The following communities have been notified as minority communities by the Government of India, Ministry of Minority Affairs;

  1. Sikhs
  2. Muslims
  3. Christians
  4. Zoroastrians
  5. Buddhists
  6. Jains

Geographic spread of minorities in India

Notified minorities constitute about 19% population of the country.

In rural India during 2009-10, 11 per cent of households followed Islam with about 12 per cent of the population. Christianity was followed by around 2 per cent of the households constituting about 2 per cent of the population. In urban areas, the percentages of households and population following Islam were about 13 and 16 and following Christianity were about 3 and 3, respectively.

Government of India has also forwarded a list of 121 minority concentration districts having at least 25% minority population, excluding those States / UTs where minorities are in majority (J & K, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep). To access the list of 121 districts, click here.

Socio-economic status of minorities in India

According to 66th round of NSS,

  • The sex-ratio for Muslims in both rural and urban areas showed a decline between 2004-05 and 2009-10; however those corresponding to Christians showed an improvement during this period.
  • The average household size, in both rural and urban areas, for Muslims was higher than those of other religious groups, and the average household size was the lowest among Christians. The household size in rural areas was higher than that of urban areas for each of the religious groups.
  • In rural areas, self-employment was the mainstay for all the religious groups. The proportion of households with major income from self-employed in agriculture was the highest among Sikh households (about 36 per cent). The proportion of households belonging to the household type rural labour was the highest among Muslims (about 41 per cent). In urban India, the proportion of households with major source of earnings as self-employment was highest for Muslims (46 per cent). The major source of earnings from regular wage/salaried was the highest for Christians households (43 per cent) in urban areas.
  • Among all the land possessed classes, in rural areas, proportion of households belonging to the land possessed class ‘0.005-0.40’ hectare was the highest for all the major religious groups, which was more than 40 per cent.
  • About 43 per cent of Christian households and 38 per cent of Muslim households cultivated more than or equal to 0.001 hectare of land but less than 1.00 hectare of land. The proportion of households cultivating more than 4.00 hectares of land was the highest for Sikhs (6 per cent), followed by Hindus (3 per cent).
  • For both rural and urban India, average Monthly per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) was the highest for Sikh households followed by Christians. At the all-India level, the average MPCE of Sikh household was Rs. 1659 while that for Muslim household was Rs. 980.
  • The literacy rate among persons of age 15 years and above was the highest for Christians, for both the sexes in rural and urban areas. The proportion of persons of age 15 years and above with educational level secondary and above was the highest for Christians, followed by Sikhs.
  • The current attendance rates in educational institutions were higher among males than females and also higher in urban areas than in rural areas. The current attendance rates in educational institutions among persons of age 0-29 years were the highest among Christians for rural males, rural females, urban males and urban females.
  • The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for male was much higher than female for all religious groups - the differential being greater in urban areas. The male-female differential in LFPR was the lowest among Christians. The LFPR for rural male, rural female and urban female was the highest for Christians while that for urban male was the highest for Sikhs.
  • Work Participation Rate (WPR) for male was much higher than female for all the religious groups - the differential being greater in the urban areas. The male-female differential in WPR was the lowest among Christians.
  • In rural areas, majority of male workers belonged to the categories not literate (28 per cent) or literate and up to primary (28 per cent) while majority of female workers belonged to the category not literate (59 per cent). The proportion of male workers with general education level secondary & above was the highest for Christians (32 per cent), followed by Sikhs (30 per cent). In urban areas, majority of male workers belonged to the education category level secondary & above (52 per cent). Among urban males, proportion of workers with level of education secondary & above was 58 per cent each for Christians and Sikhs whereas those were 30 per cent for Muslims.
  • The unemployment rate in rural areas is less than that of urban areas. In rural areas, during 2009-10, unemployment rate was the highest for Christians for both males (3 per cent) and females (6 per cent). In urban areas, unemployment rate was the highest for Sikhs for both males (6 per cent) and females (8 per cent).

Source : Employment and Unemployment Situation among Major Religious Groups in India - NSSO 66th Round

Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities

Government of India has formulated the “Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities”. An important objective of the Programme is to ensure that an appropriate percentage of the priority sector lending is targeted for the minority communities and that the benefits of various government sponsored schemes reach the under-privileged, which includes the disadvantaged sections of the minority communities. The Programme is being implemented by the Central Ministries/Departments concerned through State Governments/Union Territories and envisages location of certain proportion of development projects in minority concentration districts.

Source : Ministry of Minority Affairs

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