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Urban Sikhs Face Highest Unemployment


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NEW DELHI: Unemployment was highest among Sikhs living in cities and towns during 2009-10 while the rate of joblessness showed a downward trend for Muslims in both urban and rural areas, a government survey released this month has revealed.

Muslims had the lowest per capita spending, according to the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), which in its 2009-10 survey put out a new report on employment trends for religious groups.

Among communities, unemployment increased only among Sikhs living in urban India. The community saw unemployment rise from 4.6% in 2004-05 to 6.1% in 2009-10. However, among rural Sikhs, the rate declined sharply from 3.5% to 2.4% during the period.

The high unemployment rate among Sikhs in urban areas may be attributed to the fact that they are more educated and also work with their hands and are vulnerable to economic slowdown which hit India during 2009-10, the period of survey.

In rural areas, unemployment was highest among Christians at 3.9%. However, it was a decline from 4.4% in 2004-05.

The steepest decline in urban areas was witnessed among Christians, with the unemployment rate falling by 5.7 percentage points from 8.6% in 2004-05 to 2.9% in 2009-10.

Hindus had a stable unemployment rate at 1.5% in rural areas during the five-year period while all other communities in villages saw a decline. In urban India, the rate fell from 4.4% to 3.4% among Hindus.

Interestingly, unemployment among Muslims in both rural and urban areas is falling. The rate declined from 2.3% in 2004-05 to 1.9% in 2009-10 among Muslims living in villages. In cities and towns, the unemployment rate among Muslims fell from 4.1% to 3.2% during the five-year period. However, most Muslims in both rural and urban areas are self employed.

Per capita spending was highest for Sikhs, followed by Christians and Hindus. At the all-India level, the average monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE) of Sikh households was Rs 1659, followed by Christians (Rs 1543), Hindus (Rs 1125) and Muslims (Rs 980).

The survey found that self-employment was the mainstay for all religious groups in rural areas. The major source of earning from self-employment in agriculture was the highest among Sikhs (about 36%), but Muslims topped the chart in the category of rural workers.

In urban India, the proportion of households with major source of earning as self-employment was highest for Muslims (46%).

The major source of earning from regular wage/salaried was the highest for Christian households (43%) in urban areas.

Most people irrespective of religious affiliation own between 0.1 and 1 hectare of land. About 43% of Christian households, 38% of Muslim and 37% of Hindu cultivated more than or equal to 0.001 hectare of land but less than 1 hectare.

The proportion of households cultivating more than 4 hectares of land was the highest for Sikhs (6%), followed by Hindus (3%).


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