The data released by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) present a relatively bright picture of the state of the Muslim community though it is still pretty dark. Unemployment among Muslims is going down which should make champions of inclusive growth happy. The unemployment rate for Muslims declined from 2.3% in 2004-06 to 1.9% in 2009. However, a vast majority of Muslims in both rural and urban areas are not part of the organized work force compared to other religious groups. Muslims are mostly engaged in self-employment and are rural labour. In cities and towns, Muslims are at the bottom of the ladder in the regular wage/salaried category. Only 30.4% Muslim households are in regular jobs, followed by Sikhs (36.77%) and Hindus (41%). On the other hand, the proportion of households in urban areas with major sources of earning in self-employment is the highest for Muslims (46%). They are also the largest group employed in rural labour, accounting for 41%. 46.3% of them are in the self-employed category in rural India.
The poverty of Muslims is reflected in their low per capita spending in comparison with other religious groups. Their household monthly per capita consumer expenditure is lowest. The share of Muslims in government jobs is however up by 3%. The big picture belies the notion that the trend among politicians including those in the ruling coalition and even an extremist like Narendra Modi to access the Muslim vote bank with special facilities granted to them contributes to their fast development. The reason may be their social backwardness, lack of interest in education and orthodox beliefs which stand in the way of joining the stream of modernity.