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‘46% Muslims in urban India self-employed’

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By Aditi Nigam

New Delhi: Every day, the Qureshi brothers catch a Metro train from Old Delhi to an upmarket colony in South Delhi, where they own a meat shop. The two brothers, who are in their 20s, have studied till Class X. The third one is a commerce graduate. But, all three decided to stay put in the family business. “We didn’t study further, because we wanted to remain in family business. Our brother is a commerce graduate, but getting jobs is not easy. So, he has joined us,” says Saqib.

In urban India, close to half the Muslims (46 per cent) still depend on self-employment for livelihood. This is despite umpteen schemes for minority welfare in over 60 years of Independence, including the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme. Christians make up for the highest number (43 per cent) of those in regular wage or salaried jobs, says an official survey.

Among urban Christians, 45 per cent males and 61 per cent female workers were engaged in regular wage or salaried employment, whereas among urban Hindus, about 44 per cent were male workers and about 40 per cent were female workers, says the report, Employment and Unemployment Situation Among Major Religious Groups in India (July 2009-June 2010, National Sample Survey Organisation 66th round).
Rural trend

In rural India, self-employment continues to be the mainstay for all religious communities, with Sikhs leading the pack.

Among rural males, the highest number of self-employed were Sikhs at 55 per cent (36 per cent households were self-employed in agriculture), followed by Hindus at 54 per cent. Among Christians in rural areas, a significant proportion of male (17 per cent) and female (11 per cent) workers were engaged in regular wage or salaried employment. However, rural labour (manual) was the highest among Muslims at about 41 per cent.

When it comes to the level of education, too, Muslims lag behind other religious communities in both urban and rural India. Only 30 per cent Muslim male workers were in the category of ‘secondary & above’ in urban areas, compared with 58 per cent for both Christians and Sikhs and 56 per cent for Hindus.

Overall, the unemployment rate in urban areas was higher than in rural areas. “In urban areas, unemployment rate was the highest for Sikhs for both males (6 per cent) and females (8 per cent) … In rural areas, during 2009-10, the unemployment rate was the highest for Christians for both males (3 per cent) and females (6 per cent),” says the survey.

Monthly expenditure

For both rural and urban India, the average monthly per capita expenditure was the poorest for Muslims at Rs 980 and the highest for Sikh households at Rs 1,659, followed Christians at Rs 1,543 and Hindus at Rs 1,125.

The survey was spread over 7,402 villages and 5,252 urban blocks covering 100,957 households (59,129 in rural areas and 41,828 in urban areas).

(Courtesy: The Hindu)
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