National Survey: Worst state of SC, ST and OBC

13Oct07

When it comes to the poorest, percentage of OBCs is double that of ‘others’  the percentage of the ‘rich’ in the ‘others’ category is high. There are 19 per cent SCs, 8 per cent STs and 40 per cent OBCs in the country

The middle income groups among the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and ‘others’ (loosely referred to as upper castes) are almost on a par economically. But when it comes to the ‘poorest of the poor,’ the percentage of the OBCs is almost double that of ‘others.’ However, the percentage of the ‘rich’ in the ‘others’ category is much higher.

The Schedules Tribes and the Scheduled Castes continue to be the worst off as far as the wealth indicators are concerned with about 50 per cent in the STs and 27 per cent in the SC households in the lowest wealth quintile, according to the latest report of the National Family Health Survey-III released here on Thursday. The report says that among the four castes/tribes, those in the OBCs are the most typical of the population as a whole: they are most evenly distributed across the wealth quintiles.

For the purpose of the survey, the household population is divided into five equal groups of 20 per cent each (quintiles) at the national level from 1 (lowest, poorest) to 5 (highest, wealthiest).

The survey, conducted on a sample of over two lakh people across the country, says there are 19 per cent SCs, 8 per cent STs and 40 per cent OBCs in the country. About one-third of the population does not belong to any of these three groups and have been categorised as ‘others.’ Twenty seven per cent of households have below poverty line (BPL) cards.

On further analysis of the figures on economic distribution, the survey points out that 50 per cent of the STs, 28 per cent SCs, 18 per cent OBCs and 9.8 per cent ‘others’ fall in the poor category. In contrast, 35.6 per cent ‘others’, 15.6 per cent OBCs, 10.2 per cent SCs and only 5.2 per cent STs fall in the highest quintile category.

In the three middle income groups, the ‘others’ fall in the range of 13.6 per cent, 17.1 per cent and 24 per cent respectively and the OBCs are in the range of 22 per cent, 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

The percentage of STs in these categories is 23.6, 13.4 and 8 while those of SCs is 24.6, 20.8 and 16.6.

When analysed on the basis of religion, 87 per cent of Jain, 53 per cent Sikh and one-third of Christian households are in the highest wealth quintile.

Twenty-two per cent of Buddhists and neo-Buddhists, 19.2 per cent of Hindus and 17 per cent of Muslims also fall in the wealthy category.

There is a huge urban-rural divide with 48 per cent of the population in urban areas in the highest wealth quintile in contrast to only 7 per cent in the rural population.

The distribution of the population across wealth quintiles shows large variation among the States, with 70 per cent people in Delhi falling in the rich category. Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, and Tripura have only one-tenth of their populations in the highest quintile.

In about half of the States, less than 10 per cent of the households are in the lowest wealth quintile.

Source: The Hindu



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