Christian households top in donations for charity


After Christians, it is the Sikhs followed by Muslims who contribute more to charity. But in absolute terms, Hindus contributed maximum in 2014-15, thanks to larger population, according to National Sample Survey data. 

The data were recently extracted from the NSS’ raw findings by a team of researchers led by Sabir Ahamed of the Pratichi Institute and Zakaria Siddiqui, research assistant at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. The 72nd round was conducted in 2014-15, but could be accessed only in late 2016.


Religious contributions are divided under two heads: the contribution to institutions is ‘charity’ and the non-charitable part is under ‘priests and rituals’. Hindus contribute ?82 per household per month to charities and ?92 to the priests, while Muslims give ?126 and ?54 to charities and Maulanas respectively.

Contributions multiplied by each surveyed household of Hindus in the country indicates that the community contributes ?15,600 crore to priests and charities. The actual contribution of Muslims is ?2,580 crore.

The per capita religious contribution of Christians and Sikhs is higher than Hindus and Muslims, but the size of the population makes the absolute contribution lower. While the actual contribution of Sikhs is ?1,716 crore, it is ?420 crore for the Christians. Mr. Ahamed, a senior researcher at the Pratichi Institute, said the data analysis was based on the number of people who incur a religious expenditure.

“There is no organised structure to utilise the money which comes as Zakat contribution, especially during Ramzan,” Mr. Ahmed said. The Zakat is 2.5% of the assets or savings of a person, who is expected to contribute the amount as per the Quranic instruction for people who are below the level of subsistence.

“The actual Zakat collection is presumably much more than what is indicated by NSS,” he said since it is mandatory in Islam to make a religious contribution.

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