Data also shows higher marginationalisation of the country's Scheduled Tribes
The latest data released by the Census of India shows that the child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys) among Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the country has declined faster than in other categories of the population between 2001 and 2011. But the number of girls born per 1,000 boys is still higher in the ST category than in the general population. The data also shows higher marginalisation of India’s Scheduled Tribes; the rate at which people are giving up cultivation is also higher in this category. But more number of Scheduled Tribe women participate in the work force than women in any other category of the population.
The census report data, released on October 28, shows a declining trend in child sex ratio across all categories. The national average has dipped to 919 in 2011 from 927 in 2001. The decline in child sex ratio of STs is higher—it has declined from 973 to 957, but the child gender ratio among STs is still better than the national average. The child sex ratio of STs is the best in Chhattisgarh at 993 and Odisha at 980.
The population growth rate of STs is more than the average population growth of the country, reveals the Primary Census Abstract SC & ST report of Census of India 2011. The growth rate of general population of country is 17.7 per cent whereas STs are growing at 23.7 per cent. Even in urban areas, the growth rate of ST population is more—the growth rate of STs is 49.7 per cent whereas the general population grew by 31.7 per cent.
The data shows another trend. The proportion of child population (0-6 years) of STs has been decreasing. The proportion of child population is overall 13.6 of total population. But the schedule caste child population and tribal child population is decreasing at faster rate in comparison to general child population.
Overall sex ratio better
The census data shows overall improvement in sex ratio (adults and children combined) in all categories, including that of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes between 2001 and 2011. This improvement is more visible in urban areas. The sex ratio among STs is better than that of all categories. The ST sex ratio has improved to 990 from 978 per 1,000 males, whereas the national average has increased to 943 from 933. The census data shows ST sex ratio has increased to 980 from 944 in urban areas. On the other hand, sex ratio of general population in urban areas improved to 929 from 900. The national sex ratio of rural population is improving slowly in comparison to rural population of STs.
Odisha and Jharkhand, two of India’s poorest states with sizeable tribal population, are the best performing states when it comes to improved sex ratio of STs when compared to states like Rajasthan (948), Uttar Pradesh (952), Jammu and Kashmir (924) and Bihar (958), which also have tribal people. Goa tops the list when it comes to sex ratio of tribal population with 1,046 females per 1,000 males; it is followed by Kerala (1,035), Arunachal Pardesh (1,032), Odisha (1,029) and Chhattisgarh (1,020).
There is minuscule increase in work participation rate (WPR) of Scheduled Tribes in the country. The rate of WPR is high in urban areas. Work participation rate of SCs and STs in rural areas is declining but increasing urban areas, the census report states.
Work participation of ST women is the highest in the country and the participation of men is even better. Work participation rate of ST women is 43.5, whereas national average (for general population) is 25.5. Though the overall work participation rate decreased from 25.6 to 25.5, it is increased in urban areas.
Fewer work days
The census data clearly reflects increasing marginalisation of workers. There is declining trend in percentage of “main workers” (those who are engaged in any economically productive activity for 183 days/six months or more during the year) and increasing trend of “marginal workers” (those who work less than 183 days/six months a year). But the rate of decline of “main workers” belonging to ST category is faster in comparison to the national average. This trend is there in rural areas as well.
STs are the most marginalised group in the country. The growth rate of marginal workers almost doubled in comparison to the national rate. Among STs, rate of marginalisation is greater in rural areas in comparison to urban areas.
As per data, the number as well as the percentage of cultivators is declining. The percentage of decline again is more among STs but they still constitute the highest percentage of cultivators. In rural areas, the decline in number of cultivators is more than 10 per cent whereas the national average is about seven per cent.
As per data, there is increasing trend of people becoming agricultural labourers. Though Scheduled Castes, who by tradition constitute highest percentage of agricultural labourers seems to remain stagnant, but they still contitute highest percentage among all categories, followed by STs. The percentage increase of agricultural labourers is higher for ST population. Their rate increased by around eight per cent, whereas national average of growth in agricultural labour was four per cent. In rural areas, SC sconstitute highest number of agricultural labourers. But the rate of increase is highest among STs.
The number of household industry (HHI) workers is increasing but their percentage is decreasing, says census data. The decline is across all sections. HHI is a non-registered industry, run by only family members.
The number as well as percentage of “other workers” has been increasing across all sections. More SCs are joining this category than any other section of the population.
Census 2011: Governing populations and the girl child
Signs of change? - Sex ratio imbalance and shifting social practices in Northern India
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