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Muslims Lead Minority Literacy Rate Improvements Over Decade

Chaitanya Mallapur,
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The literacy rate among Muslims showed the largest increase of 9.4 percentage points, from 59.1% in 2001 to 68.5% in 2011, among India’s minorities, according to data presented in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) on July 21, 2016.


Muslims are followed by Buddhists (8.6 percentage points), Sikhs (6 percentage points), Christians (4.2 percentage points) and Jains (0.8 percentage points).


Hindus—the dominant religious community in the country—reported an increase of 8.2 percentage points to 73.3% over a decade.


The literacy rate in India rose 8.2 percentage points over the decade, from 64.8% in 2001 to 73% in 2011.


Minorities have “shown considerable improvement in terms of literacy rates and work participation ratio over a decade as per Census 2011”, according to a statement from the Ministry of Minority Affairs to the Lok Sabha.


Despite improvement, Muslims still lag other communities with a literacy rate of 68.5%, compared to Hindus (73.3%), Christians (84.5%), Sikhs (75.4%) and Jains (94.9%), according to census 2011. Muslims, who comprise 14.4% of India’s population, rank at the bottom of the higher-education ladder, IndiaSpend reported on July 22, 2016.



Note: Others* include other religions and persuasions


Jains reported the maximum improvement in work-participation rate, 2.6 percentage points, from 32.9% in 2001 to 35.5% in 2011.


Jains were followed by Buddhists (2.5 percentage points), Christians (2.2 percentage points), and Muslims (1.3 percentage points).


While Sikhs have seen a decline of 1.4 percentage points in work-participation rates, from 37.7% in 2001 to 36.3% in 2011, Hindus have seen a marginal improvement by 0.6 percentage points.


The budgetary provision for the welfare of minorities was increased to Rs. 3,800 crore in 2016-17 from Rs. 3,713 crore in 2015-16, the minority affairs ministry informed parliament. Of Rs. 3,713 crore allocated in 2015-16, 98% (Rs 3,655 crore) was utilised.


(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)


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