New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - Indian Christians are among the last in terms of human development in Indian society. The rate of unemployment among Christian men in rural as well as urban areas is higher than those from other religions across the country. Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi presented the data in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) in reply to a question posed by Trinamool Congress member Prasun Banerjee. Banerjee asked the government whether it has any updated data on the unemployment rate prevailing minority communities.
Naqvi cited the data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) of 2017-18. The PLFS was launched by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in 2017 as a nationwide Labour Force Survey. According to the report, the unemployment rate among Christian men is at 6.9% in rural areas and 8.8% in urban areas, higher than men of other religious communities. Among women, Sikh females accounted for the highest number of unemployed in urban areas and Muslim women in rural areas.
The minister said that in rural areas the rate of unemployment among Hindu men was 5.7%, among Muslim men 6.7% and among Sikh men, it was 6.4%. On the other hand, in urban areas, 6.9% Hindu men remained unemployed, 7.5% was the rate among Muslim men and 7.2% among Sikh men.
Among women, at 16.9% Sikh women accounted for the most unemployed in urban areas and at 8.8% Christian women in rural areas.
The rate of unemployment among women in urban areas was markedly more with 10% of Hindu women unemployed, 14.5% of Muslim women and 15.6% Christian women without jobs. In rural areas, the rate was 3.5% for Hindu women, for Muslim women it was 5.7% and 5.7% among Sikh women.
John Dayal, a Catholic journalist and intellectual, reminds Agenzia Fides that in his first mandate (2014-2019) "Prime Minister Narendra Modi was against giving the rights and status of 'recognized caste' to Christian Dalits and excluded the community from scholarship" but, notes the Catholic lay leader, "even the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), a coalition of center-left political parties formed after the 2004 general elections had the same policy towards Christians".
In the collective imagination, the Christian community in India remains "the owner of rich plantations in Kerala or is identified with the nurses and working women in the cities of Goa and Mumbai. No one remembers and recognizes the Dalits, tribals, miners", notes Dayal.
In the nation the Hindus are 966 million or 80% of the Indian population, who on the whole represent 1.3 billion people. Muslims represent 172 million (about 14%) while Christians are 29 million (2.3%). (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 2/7/2019)