Adding another dimension to the Sachar panel report on the condition of Muslims in the country, the latest National Sample Survey shows that between 1999-00 and 2004-05, there was a nearly 45 per cent drop in the number of urban Muslim males in the category of “regular employees”. During the same period, the number of urban Muslims increased in the self-employed category.
Nearly half of the Muslims living in urban areas are self-employed, while the incidence of wage employment is higher among Hindus and Christians, according to NSSO survey. About 49 per cent of Muslim households in urban areas were self-employed as against 36 per cent Hindu households and 27 per cent Christian households, a survey on ‘employment and unemployment situation among major religious groups in India 2004-05’ by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) said. The survey covered 7,999 villages and 1,24,680 sample households.
The report is based on the data of the seventh quinquennial survey of employment and unemployment in India carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) which is part of 61st round of NSS. This report is labeled “Employment and Unemployment Situation among Major Religious Groups in India, 2004–2005.” This report is the fifth in the series of seven reports to be brought out on the basis of employment and unemployment data of the NSS 61st round. In this survey, among many other details, information on religion was collected as part of the household characteristics. The major religious groups distinguished in the survey included Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Budddhists and Zoroastrians.
All States / Union Territories were covered by the survey except some interior areas of Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Ladakh and Kargil districts of Jammu & Kashmir. This survey was spread over a sample of 7999 villages and 4602 urban blocks covering 1,24,680 sample households (79306 in the rural areas and 45374 in the urban areas). Out of the 1,24,680 households surveyed at the national level, households reporting religion as Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism were 95066(76.2 per cent), 14785(11.9 per cent), 8575(6.9 per cent) and 3037(2.4 per cent) respectively. The number of households surveyed for other religions i.e., those reporting their religion, as Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism or others, together, was 3,217(2.6 per cent) at the all- India level.
Figures for regular male employees in urban India show that the fall was more pronounced among urban Muslims - from 300 per 1,000 in 1999-00 to 165 per 1000 in 2004-05. Among Hindus, the drop is marginal - from 437 in 1999-00 to 431 per 1000 in 2004-05. The survey revealed only 30 per cent of urban Muslim households worked for regular wages as compared to 47 per cent Christian households and 43 per cent Hindu households.
The trend is altogether different among the urban female population. There has been a more than 200 per cent increase among female Muslim regular employees. According to the NSSO data, it increased from 175 per 1000 in 1999-00 to 587 per 1000 in 2004-05. During the same period and category, increase in female Hindu regular employees was around 75 per cent - from 338 to 590.
It pointed out that 14 per cent of urban Muslim households worked as casual labourers as compared to 12 per cent Hindus and 11 per cent Christians. The worker population ratio (WPR) among males in rural areas was highest among Christians (56 per cent), followed by Hindus (55 per cent) and Muslims (50 per cent).
The WPR for females in rural area was 36 per cent for Christians, 34 per cent for Hindus and 18 per cent for Muslims, the survey found. In urban India, the WPR among males was highest for Hindus (56 per cent) followed by Muslims (53 per cent) and Christians (51 per cent). The WPR for Christian women was 24 per cent, followed by Hindus (17 per cent) and Muslims (12 per cent).
The NSSO also has data on the unemployment rate (number of unemployed per 1000 persons) as well as proportion of those employed per 1000. Data shows that unemployment rate (among male and female) in rural India increased among all religions between 1999-00 and 2004-05 , the increase being the highest among Christians (from 39 to 44 per 1000). In urban India, there has been a fall in the unemployment rate of Muslims (50 to 41 per 1000) but there has been an increase in the unemployment rate of Christians (73 to 86 per 1000).
The survey data on OBCs falls short of the estimate made by the Mandal Commission; also, there is considerable variation in the figures provided by the two surveys, 55th and 61st Round. Those reporting as OBCs among Muslims constitute 40.7 per cent of the Muslim population, as per the 61st Round. Compared to the 55th Round when Muslim OBCs were reported to be only 31.7 per cent, the growth is of 9 per cent.
The pattern remains the same in both rural and urban areas. As the NSSO provides self-reporting data, this only reflects either an enhanced awareness of their OBC status among the Muslim OBCs or substantive revision of the OBC list since the last round of survey. The growth in the population share of Hindu OBCs is also noticeable. The population share of SC/ST in the total Hindu population remains consistent in both the surveys. The category SC/ST and the benefits associated with it has a longer history, more than 50 years, and therefore the social groups included, to a large extent, are aware of their status.