Demographic Dividend and Indian Muslims - i

By Aariz Mohammed
Director, Center for Social Justice, Hyderabad

Introduction: We have discussed the Muslim backwardness since ages and post-Sachar, the passion is continuing.  Some of us contributed to get policies drafted to address this situation and some are working on their  implementation. Yet, the challenge remains standstill as the share of the young Muslim population continues to grow in the overall demographic dividend of India with all its positive and negative results.

The objective here is to drive the community to face the challenges and prepare to capitalize on the dividend.  It will be a dividend if we accelerate our preparation, else it will be a curse. A multi-dimensional approach with sustainable efforts at various levels is needed to address the challenge.    

The available studies on the ‘Indian demographic dividend’ are not much qualitative as the space for R&D in our policies is non-cognizable. This limitation expands to all ‘Social-Identities’ and the ‘Indian Muslim’ identity is not an exception.  Human development indications with SRC variables are also not available as no such exercise is undertaken even though the statutory bodies were demanding it for some time.

Here is an attempt, with all its limitations, to present a broad picture on the subject.

India 2011 Census: The provisional Census 2011 data says the total Indian population is 121,01,93,422  with 58,64,69,174 females and 62,37,24,248 males. The decadal growth rate is 17.64%.  
Birth rate: 20.97 births/1,000 population  growth rate: 1.344 %.
Death rate: 7.48 deaths/1,000 population.
Fertility rate: 2.62 children born/woman.
Infant mortality rate: Total: 47.57 deaths/1,000 live births. Female: 49.14 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 46.18 deaths/1, 000 live births.
Life expectancy at birth: Total: 66.8 years -- female: 67.95 years; male: 65.77 years.
Age structure:  65 years and over: 5.5 % (male: 30,831,190 and female: 33,998,613).
15 years to 64 years: 64.9 % (male: 3,98,757,331 and female: 3,72,719,379);
0 years to 14 years: 29.7 % (male: 187,450,635 and female: 1,65, 415,758).
Median age:  Total: 26.2 years  -- female: 26.9 years; male: 25.6 years
Sex ratio: Total: 1 female/1.08 males  65 years and over: 1 female/0.91 male 15-64 years: 1 female/1.07 males; below 15 years: 1 female/1.13 males; at birth: 1 female/1.12 males.
Literacy: Total: 77,84,54,120 -- females: 33,42,50,358; males: 44,42,03,762.
Literacy rate: Total: 74.04 % -- females: 65.46 %; males: 82.14 %.
Net migration rate: -0.05 migrant/1,000 population

Working Age Population by 2026: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are typical underperforming states.  Assam along with BIMARU states contributed 27% to Indian economy in 1997-98.  Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will together contain 31.2% of India’s youth in 2026. The backward BIMARU states have the greatest growth rates of working age ratio with only the rich state of Haryana as the non-BIMARU state in the top five.

Between 2001 and 2026, in a period of 25 years, working age population will grow by 19.8% in Rajasthan, 17.3% in Haryana and 16.8% in Bihar. In 2001, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had a large chunk of their populations living below the poverty line with Bihar touching 42.6%. In the HDI ranks, out of 15 states, Bihar ranks at number 15, Uttar Pradesh at 13 and Madhya Pradesh at 12. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also have very low labour force participation rates, casting doubt on their ability to absorb the increasing growth in their labour force.

The growth rate of employment is reasonable by Indian standards in the BIMARU states. However, given the large bulk of the working age population on its way, this will have to increase.

The future of the Indian Demographic Dividend looks dim. To reap the benefits of a favourable age structure, the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will need to undergo serious reforms to improve the health and education conditions, create meaningful employment much faster and tackle widespread poverty immediately.

Looking at the future, the rich states of Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh will contain the most favourable age structures in 2026. These states have sound policies and can be predicted to create productive job opportunities for its population.

Indian Muslims: The Indian Muslim population is around 170 million, as per the estimated figure for the year 2011. It is estimated to be 13.4% to the total population with a marginal increase of .2% over the 2001 census. This is due to the higher fertility rate with 29.9% as per NFHS III though the fertility has gone down by 1.32% between NFHS II-III.

Projections for the future population growth in India show that by the end of the 21st century, India’s total population will stabilize in which the Muslim population would be less than 20% of total, as noted by the Sachar Committee.

Given the trends of fertility rates by 2018, the total fertility rate of Muslims and Hindus will be same. As the Muslim population is much younger, it would continue to grow more rapidly than the non-Muslim for some time, but eventually the growth rate of both populations would be the same and the Muslim portion of the India’s population would tend to stabilize.

The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to new population projections by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Muslims may maintain a population growth rate somewhat higher than other groups and their percentage of India’s population might slowly grow. It is because the use of modern methods of contraceptive is very low among Muslims as compared to others. Religious differences over the use of modern contraception, based on the latest NFHS-3 (2005- 06) data, clearly indicate that the prevalence of modern contraception is the highest among Jains (69%) and lowest among Muslims (36%). Around 50% of Hindus are protected by some modern method like sterilization, pill, IUD and condom which are available in the official programme (column 2). The prevalence of sterilization does not differ much among most religious groups, except for the fact that it is very low among Muslims (column 3). The proportion of women and men who have been sterilized is twice as high for Hindus as for Muslims.

Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim populations over the next two decades - an average annual growth rate of 1.5 pc for Muslims, compared with 0.7 pc for non-Muslims.

If the current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 pc of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 pc of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

How does India stand in this? Not much of a change, it seems. India is projected to remain as the third-largest Muslim population (in absolute numbers) in the world by 2030, following Indonesia and Pakistan. The Muslim population in India is projected to increase from 177.3 million in 2010 to 236.2 million in 2030. The Muslim share of India’s population is expected to increase from 14.6 pc in 2010 to 15.9 pc in 2030.

More than one-in-ten of the world’s Muslims (10.8 pc) will live in India in 2030 — about the same as in 2010.

Muslims in India continue to have more children on average than non-Muslims. These are among the key findings of a comprehensive report on the size, distribution and growth of the global Muslim population.

To be continued in the next issue, click here