India is a diverse country with different cultural, social, lifestyle and food habits across the country. India is also a predominantly non-vegetarian country with up to 70 per cent of its population consuming various meat and meat products. Indians consume more than half of the beef produced in the country and the rest is exported, making it the world's largest exporter. India also ranks fifth in beef production and seventh in domestic beef consumption.
The Government of India released the Census 2011 data on Population by Religious Communities on Aug 25th and a section of the news media seized the opportunity to sensationalize and create a controversy. These media reports seek to portray that the Hindu population in India is going down while the Muslim population is going up, similar to a stock market analogy. The media controversy and the timing of the data released by the Indian Government close to the elections in two of the populous states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is quite questionable.
However, a quick look at the data will show that the population of both the Hindu and the Muslim community has increased in the past decade, while the total population of India increased by 17.7% from 2001 to 2011. From 2001 to 2011, the Hindu population increased by 138 million which is the equivalent of the entire Muslim population of 2001! However, the positive sign for India is that the rate of growth for both communities is falling compared to previous decades. In fact the rate of decline of population growth in the past decade for the Muslim community is higher than for the Hindu community.
A more rigorous analysis will be performed by our research staff and the results will be shared in a later release. However, we are presenting few facts from the 2011 religion census data here.
1. The chart below shows the population growth according to census data for Hindus and Muslims during 2001 to 2011.
2. The population share of major religions in India according to data from 2011 census.
3. The population growth rates of both Muslims and Hindus are declining and beginning to converge. (Source: The Wire)
The Positive Indicators from the 2011 census
A preliminary analysis of the newly released religion census reveals that there are several good indicators for India. A more in-depth analysis is forthcoming by USIPI's research staff.
Few Positive Indicators from Census 2011 Religion Data
1. India's population is declining faster than previously expected
2. Rate of decline over the decade for Muslim population (4.9%) is marginally higher than for Hindu population (3.5%)
3. Population decline was faster in India's populous states Uttar Pradesh and Bihar compared to many other states.
4. Sex Ratio has improved for all of India in the past decade.
5. The sex ratio for Hindu community has improved marginally and it has significantly improved for the Muslim community.
The OpEd that triggered Sachar Committee Report
Almost ten years ago, a similar but sharper controversy had erupted in 2004 when the Indian Government released census 2001 data for population by religious communities. In response, USIPI Chief Scholar, Dr.Abusaleh Shariff, had then written an OpEd published in Times of India on Oct 22, 2004 which triggered the formation of the Sachar Committee. Dr.Shariff who was appointed as the member secretary and his colleagues on the Sachar Committee brought out a seminal account of the socio-economic status of various religious communities and made several policy recommendations for uplifting the most marginalized and vulnerable communities including Muslims.
Now that that 2011 census data for religious communities is released by the Government of India, the US India Policy Institute believes the real focus of the national debate should be whether there was any improvement in the socio-economic conditions of the poor and marginalized communities including Muslims that Sachar Committe had highlighted. And whether the Government of India's Post-Sachar policies and programs for the benefit of these communities are meeting their mark!
The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari released the ‘District Development and Diversity Index Report for India and Major States’ brought out by US India Policy Institute and Center for Research and Debates in Development Policy under Dr. Abu Saleh Shariff.
The Vice President said, "This Report is an important work of research and analysis, aimed at increasing socio-economic inclusion and participatory decision-making at grassroots level. This exercise aims at assessing and computing the levels of development and equity of access to that development for each district in the country and it will prove to be an effective tool for all stakeholders. He called upon them to quantify the need for equal opportunity."
DDDIx is a pioneering effort of the CRDDP and USIPI that is an important tool for assessment of grassroots level realities of development, through creating indices for easy comparison at a more granular District level. The comprehensive analysis also adds the dimension of diversity to district development estimates that compares as to how each socio-religious community is placed in a relative context. Such social comparisons of development is the first of its kind at the level of the district.
The Report can be accessed at the link below.
Professor Amitabh Kundu
A Community Discussion on Human Development and Government Policy in India
Please Join us for an Update on Government of India's PSEC Report by our visiting speaker Professor Amitabh Kundu on Saturday Nov 1st, 2014 in Baltimore, MD
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With these two great speakers, Ambassador Islam A. Siddiqui and Dr. Vijayendra Rao along with Dr. Abusaleh Shariff as the moderator, you don't want to miss out on the discourse of India's NDA government, economic strategies and poverty alleviation at USIPI's Symposium.
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