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Rajasthan - People

The population of Rajasthan is over 5.6 crores (2001), recording a decadal growth rate of 28.33 percent, with a density of 165 persons per square kilometer. . Over 90% of the population follows the Hindu faith, followed by 9% Muslims (3). Hindus constitute a larger proportion (95%) in the southern and south-eastern regions. In 1991 the population was 4.4 crores (1991), with a density of a little over 129 persons per square kilometer, with the highest proportion of Scheduled Caste (SC) population in India (averaging over 17 percent) and a high proportion of Scheduled Tribe (ST) population (12.4 percent). The State is characterised by a non-nucleated, dispersed pattern of settlement, with diverse physiography ranging from desert and semi-arid regions of Western Rajasthan to the greener belt east of the Aravallis, and the hilly tribal tracts in the Southeast.

In the 1980s Rajasthan has the distinction of recording the highest growth in population, while in the 1990s the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and the General Fertility Rate (GFR) were among the highest in the country. In 1998/99 the second National Family Health Survey estimated that in Rajasthan the Total Fertility Rate was 3.73 (4.01 in rural areas and 2.96 in urban areas). TFR had a very slow rate of decline, a mere 4.8 percentage points in 5 years from 4.6 in 1989-91 to 4.4 in 1994-96.

Rajasthani people are assimilation of Indo-Scythian, Scytho-Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Indo-Greek, Aryo-Dravidian, Indo-Iranian and Austro-Asiatic ancestries. The main communities of Rajasthan are "Rajputs", "Jats", "Brahmans" and the "Vaishyas". Castes like "Jat", "Gurjar", "Mali" and "Kalvi" communities depend on agriculture while "Vasishya" is the business community. The tribal south and the semi-arid north-central regions exhibit high rates of migration for employment; two-thirds of households in the tribal south have reported migration, with nearly half of the family income derived from sources relating to migration

Various tribes come into picture like "Meena"," Bheel", "Garasia" and "Kanjar.Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Bhilwara, Banswara,Udaipur and Sirohi are the oldest habitants of "Bheels" while Mewar-Vagad region is known for "Garasia" and "Kathodi". The famous cattle breeders of Rajasthan are "Rabaris" and "Sahariya" in Marwar and Baran respectively. Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaipur and Alwar areas comprises of the "Meo" and "Meenas".

Bheel tribe is mainly concentrated in the areas around Udaipur, Dungarpur and Chittorgarh. Bheeli is the language spoken by this tribe. "Mewasi Bheel" also belong to the Bheel clan. TadviBheel tribe is the Muslim community converted from the Bheel clan. Another famous tribe of Rajasthan in the past is Bheel Meena tribal group. Rajasthan was ruled by Meena dynasty which had the symbol of a fish. The name Meena is derived from name Meen which means 'Fish'.

Garasia Tribe is found in South Rajasthan. This tribe is originated from Bheel clan and looked upon as the most backward tribe in the state of Rajasthan. Mainly found in the areas of Sawai Madhopur and Kota. DungriGarasia tribe migrated from Mewar and is part of Bheel community. Another tribe of Rajasthan is Dhanka tribe, the "Adivasi" clan of India. Half of the percentage of Dhanka tribe lives in the Gujarat while some dwell in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Male-female differentials in most health indicators are high, showing that women’s lives are more at risk in terms of persistent ill-health and death. On the positive side, the number of women farmers increased, registering an overall growth rate of 86 percent between 1981 and 1991. During the same time period, their percentage share among cultivators rose from 16 percent to 23 percent. Much of the increase in the aggregate employment share of women is the result of distress in agriculture forcing women to migrate to construction sites, mining and quarrying. Moreover, women do not appear to have gained much from diversification of employment that has taken place in the last decade in Rajasthan. In fact, in 1991 only 7.4 percent of workers in Rural Non Farm Sector (RNFS) were women. All these indicate a gender bias in current trends of employment diversification and increased “feminisation of poverty”.

The improvement in literacy rate recorded by Rajasthan between 1991 and 2001 is the highest in India. Literacy levels in the state rose from 38.6 percent to 61.03 percent, with literacy rate for males moving from 54.99 percent to 76.46 percent and for females from 20.44 to 44.34 percent. Despite the high decadal growth rate, the challenge of Education for All is still substantial especially for rural areas, women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The status of health in Rajasthan, despite progress made since 1949, is quite poor both in absolute and relative terms. Primary health care has not reached a large number of poor people, especially women, dalits, and communities living in remote areas. On the other hand, progress has been made with respect to control of communicable diseases such as small pox, malaria, leprosy, Guinea worm and pulse polio.

Under the Minimum Needs Programme and affiliated schemes, rural health infrastructure has also been built up. However, the health scenario in Rajasthan is still characterised by gender imbalance, low vital rates (lower than the ones for the nation) and an uneven health care coverage. Global prescriptions for health sector “reform” have focussed on privatisation of curative health services as well as on a public-private mix in primary and secondary care. However, the challenge of ensuring universality and affordability has not been addressed thus far.

In the early 1950s, the health profile of Rajasthan compared favourably with that of other Indian states, and with the national average. Today, Rajasthan’s health indicators are among the poorest in the country, indicating that the state’s performance in terms of improvement in vital statistics and case fatality from various diseases has been comparatively lacklustre.

According to the National Sample Survey for 1995-96, 28 percent rural households had access to tap water, and another 35 percent of rural households obtained drinking water from hand pumps or tube wells. Thus 63 percent rural households had access to relatively safe sources of drinking water in Rajasthan by the year 1996, when the NSS survey was undertaken. The percentage of rural households with no toilet facilities in 1996 in the same survey was 85 percent, and 57 percent households had no drainage while another 32 percent had only kuccha drainage. Open kutcha drainage is a rather inefficient medium that is responsible for widespread clogged, overflowing and broken drains. This showed that the the level of cleanliness and sanitation in rural Rajasthan still needs further facilities to reach satisfactory levels.

Just as indoor air pollution and hazardous air ambience outdoors are responsible for a significant proportion of respiratory diseases, water contamination is the reason for a high case fatality rate and persistent ill-health, especially in the rural areas as well as among children and women. Water borne diseases regularly show up as endemic, causing much suffering and loss of human life especially among children. Children less than 2 years old are most susceptible to diarrhoea, especially in rural areas. Deaths from diarrhoea are due to acute dehydration, which can be prevented by prompt administration of rehydration solutions.

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Page last modified: 26-02-2018 18:54:29 ZULU