Muslims have the lowest share of working people among all communities, as per the Census 2011 data. The Ministry of Minority Affairs admitted this while replying to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha Thursday.
Quoting from the census data, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi informed the House that Hindus and Christians have a worker-population ratio of 41 and 41.9 respectively, for Buddhists the figure is 43.1, for Sikhs it is 36.3 while for Jains it is 35.5. For Muslims the figure was lowest at 32.6.
“As per NSS 68th round report of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on ‘Employment and Unemployment Situation Among Major Religious groups in India’ (July 2011-June 2012), although there is a decrease in the WPR amongst rural persons of Islamic community, there has been an improvement of 1.1% in respect of urban persons of Islamic community as compared to NSS 66th round of similar report,” reads the reply to a question asked by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
The census figures are in line with the report of the Sachar Committee that was set up by the UPA government to assess the status of Indian Muslims. The committee had found that the government sector employs 23.7% Muslims while the private sector about 6.5%. This data which is from 2004-05, had also shown that Muslim employment in either sector is the lowest among all communities, the highest being for Hindus which was higher even than the all India figure of 34.2% in the government sector and and 13.1% in the private sector. The Sachar Committee report, which is based on data for 2004-05, says Hindus hold 35.2% government jobs and 13.9% private jobs.
The Sachar Committee meanwhile, had found Muslim participation low not only in employment in general but also in the government service. The presence of Muslims had been found to be only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS. The community, the report found has a representation of only 4.5% in Indian Railways while 98.7% of them are positioned at lower levels. Their share in police constables is only 6%, in health 4.4%, in transport 6.5%. The report though had also pointed out that the low work participation of Muslim women is a significant reason why Muslims lag in employment figures with respect to their population though it also pointed out that the proportion of Muslim women working within their homes is higher than among other communities – 70% against 51%.
One of the key recommendations that the Sachar Committee had made which was setting up of an Equal Opportunities Commission is as yet a non-starter though many high profile meetings have happened over in including one with the office-bearers of the similar commission in the United Kingdom. However the commission which was earlier supposed to be set up by the ministry of minority affairs is now for statement purposes at least, a baby of the ministry of home affairs. It is yet to be delivered.