Five takeaways from Census religion data across districts

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Muslims in Assam and West Bengal, Hindus in Punjab—that’s the concentration of leading districts of growth of the two major religious communities in India. This, and four other takeaways, from a parsing of census religion data for the 529 districts—out of 640 in all—whose boundaries did not change between 2001 and 2011.

High share growth among Muslim and Hindu are studies in contrast

Of the top 20 districts where the Muslim share increased the most, nine were in Assam or West Bengal, two of the five states that share a boundary with Bangladesh. Punjab, with eight districts, led in gains in Hindu share. Also, in general, the top 10 districts in this Muslim set are less prosperous and face greater employment challenges than the Hindu set.

 

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Sex ratios are improving more in urban areas than in rural

Sex ratios have improved more in urban areas than rural areas across religions, indicating that women and families are participating more in the urbanization and migration journeys. Sex ratios of Muslims were better than those of Hindus in both urban and rural areas in 2001, and have remained so in 2011. And, Sikhs still have the worst sex ratio and Christians the best.

 

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Every religion has seen sharp losses in certain districts

All religions have seen their numbers decline in certain districts from our set of 529 districts. At one end are Hindus and Muslims, for whom the share of such districts is in single digits. At the other end are Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, for whom the share of such districts is around 40%.

 

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Hindu minority in select states is gaining share

The usual narrative is that of a minority—usually Muslim—gaining share in a Hindu majority state. The opposite is also seen: Hindu gaining share in states where it is the minority religion, notably in Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

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Districts hit by Hindu-Muslim violence have not seen Muslim migration

The period between these two census exercises saw Hindu-Muslim communal violence in several Hindu-majority districts, notably in Gujarat in 2002 and in Uttar Pradesh. However, barring Gorakhpur, the numbers are largely in line with overall patterns.

 

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Data source: Census 2001 and Census 2011

 

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News In Numbers – August 26

317,526

The number by which female Christian population exceeds the Christian male population in India, according to the latest data released by the Indian government on religion. As per Census 2011, Christianity is the only religion in India in which the female population exceeds the male population. However, there has not been a significant change between 2001 and 2011 in the share of Christians in the total Indian population. As is the case for Jains. The share of the Muslim community grew 0.8 percentage points during this period, while the Hindu population registered a decline of 0.7 percentage points.

 

2,020

The incidence of procuration of minor girls per lakh population in India in 2014.  The equivalent figures for buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution were 14 and 82, respectively. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Indian government to prepare an action plan to prevent trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation, their rescue and rehabilitation, in consultation with the states. According to the non-governmental organisation Prajwala, which had moved the court against trafficking of girls and women for sexual exploitation, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year and that one out of every four children rescued from prostitution is a child, of which 60% are HIV positive.

 

40,000 MW versus 10,000 MW

India added about 40,000 MW (megawatt) of power generation capacity in the last two years, but demand increased only by about 10,000 MW. This is mainly because a significant chunk of people cannot afford to pay for electricity. Unless this changes, the demand-supply mismatch could become worse as the government is planning to increase power generation capacity to 800 GW (gigawatt) by 2030. In 2014-15, India recorded the lowest plant load factor in over 15 years, with power capacities operating at just 65%. The financial health of state electricity boards (SEBs) is deteriorating: their cumulative outstanding loans have crossed Rs 3,00,000 crore and they have accumulated losses of over Rs 2,50,000 crore. One of the main reasons for this is the state distribution utilities are reluctant to revise tariffs to cover costs.

 

1.2 million and 35,000

The number of infant and maternal deaths India could avoid if the current need for family planning is met within the next five years. According to an analysis conducted by the Population Foundation of India, the Finance Commission decentralizing funds to states may impact the family planning programme and could result in diversion of funds away from other social and health sector needs. In 2012-13, the Indian government had committed to bring down maternal mortality rate to 100 per every 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate to 30 per every 1,000 live births and total fertility rate to 2.1. India accounts for the largest number of maternal deaths in the world, at 178 per 100,000 live births in 2010-12.

 

1,000

The number of food items covered by the new draft food guidelines put out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for public comments. The new guidelines include health supplements and additives, nutraceuticals and proprietary foods. The 2011 guidelines cover just 377 food items: in other words, only these items are standardised.  This particular limitation caused a judicial setback for the food regulator when the Supreme Court last week refused to accept its arguments about the product approval process. Under an earlier set of rules, product approval was required only when the manufacturer included a new ingredient or additive, which under the new rule introduced in 2013 required approval for products even if they were using pre-okayed ingredients or additives within permissible limits.

 

 

 

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