New Delhi: While the latest census data on the population of religious groups, released by the Modi government on Tuesday, showed a 0.7 percent decline in the Hindu population and the Muslim community growing with a growth rate of 0.8 percent, the growth rate of Christians during 2001-2011 stood at 15.5%.
The census has distributed the total population amongst six religions namely Hindu, Muslim, Christians, Sikh, Buddhist and Jains.
In 2011, total population was registered as - 121.09 crores, in which Hindus constituted 79.8 percent, Muslims 14.2 percent, Christians 2.3 percent, Sikh 1.7 percent, Buddhist 0.7 percent and Jain 0.4 percent.
According to the 2011 data, Christians formed 2.3% of the total population at 2.78 crore. The Sikh population stood at 2.08 crore making up 1.7%, Buddhists at 84 lakh accounted for 0.7%, and 45 lakh Jains accounted for 0.4% of the total population.
While there has been no significant change in the proportion of Christians and Jains, that of Sikhs has declined by 0.2 percentage points and of Buddhists by 0.1 percentage points during the decade.
The growth rate of Christians over the decade stood at 15.5%, Sikhs at 8.4%, Buddhists at 6.1% and Jains 5.4%.
Interestingly, the decadal growth rate for Christian population during 2001-11 was higher than 100% in Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh, however, the community recorded a negative growth in five states including Nagaland (-2.8%), Andhra Pradesh (-4.4%), Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
The proportion of Hindu population to total population in 2011 has declined by 0.7 percentage point (PP); the proportion of Sikh population has declined by 0.2 PP and the Buddhist population has declined by 0.1 PP during the decade 2001-2011.
The proportion of Muslim population to total population has increased by 0.8 PP. There has been no significant change in the proportion of Christians and Jains.
Earlier, the government used to provide religion-wise break-up of population data. However, the practice was discontinued in 2011 because of a controversy that followed the 2001 Census, which showed a relatively high growth of Muslim population primarily on account of the inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir.
The comparison was skewed because the militancy-hit state was not covered in the headcount for 1991.