New Delhi: Poverty level of unorganised workers among the Hindu SCs and Muslim OBCs is the same in cities, while the workforce belonging to upper caste Hindus is better off, a government commission has revealed.
The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) found that poverty ratio of Muslim OBC workers and Hindu SCs is about 40% in urban areas.
But the Hindu OBC is less poor than the Muslim OBC. While the poverty incidence for Muslim OBCs in cities is 39.7%, it is 27.5% for Hindu OBCs.
“Human capital and access to better jobs among the Hindus improved from STs, SCs to OBCs and upper castes, with the Muslims somewhere between the SCs and OBCs. A similar pattern is observed in the poverty ratios also with STs being the worst off and upper caste Hindus having the best status, in both the rural and urban areas,” the commission headed by noted economist Arjun Sengupta said.
The Hindu upper caste is the least poor both in rural and urban areas. The poverty ratio for Hindu upper caste is 8.4% in countryside and 10.2% in the cities and towns.
The data given in the report shows that contrary to a popular belief, poverty incidence among both Hindu and Muslim workers is less in rural areas than in cities.
As many 48.6% of Hindu ST workers in cities are poor while their ratio in the villages was 35.7 as per 2004-05 data.
Likewise, while poverty ratio among Muslim OBC workers in urban areas was 39.7%, it was much less in the countryside at 21.5%.
“The poor conditions of work of the unorganised sector workers,who constitute about 70 per cent of the urban workforce,perhaps worsened the lot of all urban workers resulting higher poverty ratio.
A striking difference exists between the poverty ratio of the casual, regular and of the self-employed workers in the non-agricultural sector.
“The casual workers in urban areas are the worst off with more than 35% of them being below the poverty line irrespective of whether they were in the organised or unorganised sectors. In rural areas also the casual workers are the worst off, but with lower poverty ratios, about 22% in both the organised and unorganised sectors,” the commission said.
The regular workers in the organised sector are least likely to be in poverty.
According to the report, workers in the unorganised sector had a higher incidence of poverty (20.5%) than their counterparts in the organised sector( 11.3%).
“This is an indicator of an inadequate income levels and the extent of vulnerability of workers in the unorganised sector,” it said.