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Chetan Chauhan , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 29, 2013
A statistical flaw has earned the Sikh community the dubious distinction of being most unemployed religious group in Indian cities.

The latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) survey had said that unemployment had risen among Sikhs in urban areas between 2004-05 and 2009-10 even though it dropped for all other religious groups.

Around 4.6% of Sikhs were unemployed in urban areas in 2004-05. The percentage increased to 6.1% in 2009-10.

However, during the same period the unemployment rate for Hindus and Muslims fell by one percentage point. The maximum fall was witnessed for Christians, whose unemployment rate fell from 8.6% to 2.9% between 2004-05 and 2009-10.

The NSSO admitted that there can be a flaw in the estimation as the sample size for unemployed persons among Sikh community was very low as compared to overall worker people ratios (WPRs).

"The estimation of unemployment rate obtained from the surveys are subject to higher margin of sampling fluctuations," the NSSO said in the report released this month, while cautioning researchers about interpreting the data.

The government's statistical arm was able to find only 47 unemployed men and 23 women from Sikh community in cities for 2009-10 survey, much less than the sample for them in 2004-05 survey. For all other religious communities, which witnessed a fall in unemployment the sample size was bigger. In all over 5,100 persons were surveyed of which only 127 were from the Sikh community.

Because of the flaw, the NSSO report says that unemployment rate for Sikhs was highest for both males and females in urban areas. However, in rural areas like all other religious groups the Sikh community witnessed a fall in unemployment rate.

The overall unemployment rate in 2009-10 was 3.4% as compared to 1.6% in rural areas.