Health of India’s Religious Communities

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the report of a survey titled ‘Health in India’, whose main objective was to gather basic quantitative information on India’s health sector. 
  • The report details aspects of the role played by government and private sector facilities, and also contains health information for separate religious communities, including estimates of their susceptibility to ailments.

According to the report, which religious group in India is the most prone to illness?

  • The Zoroastrian community remains the most susceptible to ailments, the report says. 
  • Results from the National Sample Survey (NSS)’s 75th Round released in July show that 31.1 per cent of Zoroastrians reported that they were suffering from an ailment at the time the survey was conducted.
  • This number for other communities is: Jains, 11.2 per cent; Sikhs 11 per cent; Christians 10.5 per cent; Muslims 8.1 per cent; Buddhists 8 per cent; and Hindus 7.2 per cent.
  • The report is based on information collected through NSS Schedule 25.0 (Household Social Consumption: Health) spread over the entire Indian Union. 
  • Data were collected through a sample survey of 1.13 lakh households covering 5.55 lakh persons.

How does the survey define ‘ailment’?

  • The survey defines ailment as any deviation from a person’s state of physical and mental well-being. 
  • The ‘Proportion of Persons who Responded as Ailing’, or PPRA, in a 15-day period when they were approached by the surveyors, were registered as those suffering from ailments.

Is there a significant division in terms of sex?

  • The survey shows that women remain more susceptible to suffering from ailments than men. 
  • In rural India 6.1 per cent of males said that they were suffering from ailments, while 7.6 per cent of rural women said the same. 
  • While 8.2 per cent of urban males said that they were sick, 10 per cent urban females said the same.

Overall, how healthy (or unhealthy) is India?

  • Around 7.5 percent of Indians reported that they were suffering from ailments, as per the survey. 
  • The difference in people suffering from ailments in rural and urban India was stark. 
  • While in rural India only 6.8 per cent said that they were suffering from an ailment, this number in urban India was 9.1 per cent.