Muslim, Non-Muslim Gap in Employment Owes it to Discrimination: Oxfam Report


“In 2019-20, 68% of the difference between Muslim and non-Muslim engaged as salaried workers in urban areas was due to discrimination,” noted the study

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A huge gap between Muslims and non-Muslims engaged in regular and salaried employment in urban areas is due to discrimination against the minority community in India, said a study done by the Oxfam.

“In 2019-20, 68% of the difference between Muslim and non-Muslim engaged as salaried workers in urban areas was due to discrimination,” noted the study

The report titled ‘India Discrimination 2022’ studies the discrimination at the all-India level, disaggregated by the types of employment, factors behind discrimination and between rural and urban areas.

The report pointed out that PLFS data for the year 2019-20 demonstrates that 15.6 per cent of the 15 years plus population among Muslims are engaged in regular jobs whereas the corresponding figure among the non-Muslims is 23.3 per cent, with the difference of 7.8 percentage points. 

“Decomposition analysis shows that 68 percent of the gap is explained by discrimination while differences in endowment explain only 32 percent in 2019-20. We also find that discrimination accounted for only 59 per cent of the total employment gap in 2004- 05 which has increased significantly by 9 percentage points,” said the report.

As per the PlFS 2019-20, the average earning of non-Muslims in urban areas in regular employment is INR 20,346 which is significantly higher than that of Muslims, which is inr 13,672, said the report.

When it comes to the regular employment of rural areas, the gap between Muslim and non-Muslims decreases.

The report said as per PLFS data for the year 2019-20, the gap in participation in RE (regular employment) between Muslims and non-Muslims is low in rural areas. Nearly 6.9 percent of the 15+ population among the non-Muslims are absorbed in RE. The corresponding figure for Muslims is 5.8 per cent – a difference of only 1.1 percentage points.

The report found that Muslims in urban areas are highly concentrated in self-employment compared to other communities.

“This is largely because of the low-quality family professions and attendant difficulties of finding other options in the labour market. Even here, the average earning of non-Muslims in self-employment is INR 15,878 while that of Muslims is Rs 11,421,” it stated.

According to the report, the average earning in casual wage work was slightly higher among non-Muslims than Muslims in 2018- 19. The analysis shows that 55 percent of this gap is due to discrimination. Furthermore, this component of discrimination has increased from 41 per cent to 55 per cent during 2004-05 and 2018-19. In 2019-20, however, the average casual wages of Muslims in urban areas was INR 8,772, slightly higher than that of non-Muslims which is INR 8,626.

When it comes to earning from the regular employment in the rural areas, Non-Muslims earn INR 13,440 per month while Muslims earn INR 12,796 recording a difference of INR 644 in 2019-20.


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