"The recently released religious data in Census 2011 had stripped up a controversy with respect to the growth of the minority population in India."Critically examine the issue.

Model Answer:
India is a welfare State, where various welfare schemes are launched for the benefit of the common man. Effective implementation of schemes requires information at the grass root level. This information is provided by the Census. But, the census 2011, data had stirred up a controversy (in media) with respect to the growth of the minority (Muslim) population. The data revealed that the share of Hindus in India’s population had fallen very slightly from 80% to 79.8%.At the same time, the share of Muslims rose slightly from 13.4% in 2001 to 14.2% in 2011.But the data reveals that the rate of growth for Muslims is considerably lower than in previous decades. The Rajinder Sachar committee report had discussed about the Muslim population growth in India and had thrown light on some of the misconceptions about the population growth of Muslims in India. The demographic changes should be analyzed in not only short period context but also in context of structural socio-economic changes. The relatively faster growth rate in Muslim population is due to younger median age (22 in Muslims, 26 in Hindus) and relatively high Total Fertility Rate in Muslims (3.1) in comparison to Hindus (2.7) and Christians (2.3).The higher fertility rate is mainly because of low female literacy rates, poverty and backwardness. The Muslim women in India, particularly rural women live in stranglehold of the harsh customs and unable to act on their own to obtain family planning services to regulate their childbearing .However, fortunately, there is a growing awareness among the new generation for women. Muslim women are also challenging patriarchy that all women experience around unequal power hierarchies in society.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“The recently released religious data in Census 2011 had stripped up a controversy with respect to the growth of the minority population in India.” Critically examine the issue.

Published: February 7, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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