Scheduled caste (SC) households are materially better off than scheduled tribe (ST) households, according to the latest census data on asset ownership. Data released on Wednesday showed 38.5 per cent of ST households owned none of the eight assets on which information was collected in 2011, while only 22.6 per cent of SC households owned none of the assets.
In 2011, 20 per cent of ST households owned a television, compared with 39 per cent of SC households. Only 4.2 per cent of ST households owned a laptop, while 0.7 per cent had an internet connection. In comparison, 5.2 per cent of SC households owned a computer, while a higher proportion (1.3 per cent) had an internet connection 2011.
The data show SC households also had greater ownership of mobile phones. While 29.7 per cent of ST households owned a mobile phone, 47.6 per cent of SC households owned one.
Mobile ownership was higher in urban areas for both the social groups compared to rural areas. For STs, mobile ownership was 26.5 per cent in rural areas and 31.1 per cent in urban. Only 8.2 per cent of ST households owned either a scooter, a motorcycle or a moped, compared with 12 per cent in the case of SC households. Only 1.4 per cent of ST households had a car.
The census data say 44.2 per cent of ST households availed banking facilities in 2011. In rural areas, a lower proportion of households (42.7 per cent) had access to banking facilities compared to urban areas (44.8 per cent). By contrast, 50.9 per cent of SC households availed of banking facilities in 2011.
But, with the success of the government's Jan Dhan Yojana, these numbers are likely to be significantly higher now.
Despite rising prosperity, 54.9 per cent of SC households continue to use firewood as fuel for cooking. While 16.9 per cent used liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) / piped natural gas (PNG) in 2011, a mere 2.9 per cent used kerosene. Among the economically worse-off ST households, 80 per cent still depend on firewood for cooking, while only 7.3 per cent use LPG/PNG.