(Note: This is an open letter which Shri. Isaac Gomes wrote to Shri John Dayal. Since it contains a few points to ponder upon, we publish this in CCV. Shri Isaac can be contacted at email@example.com – Joseph Mattappally: asso. editor)
Dear Mr Dayal,
Archbishop Leo Cornelio's (of Bhopal) request to the Government of India to take steps to reverse a rising unemployment rate among Christians is commendable. But what about caring for our own Christian community by creating our own database? I have written several times on the creation of a family database in each parish in each diocese of India (Please refer Page 6 Herald July 03-10, 2014). Based on the database (which must be updated periodically say annually), each parish will get information on the quality of its human resources i.e. education, health, income, creative talents, etc. This will help each parish to identify people who are in need of help financial or otherwise. Arrangements can then be made to give them financial aid or vocational training. This will also provide a ready list of parishioners who can be tapped for raising finance for sustainable development projects and especially of professionals who can be utilized for various development activities locally and on all-India basis.
This database monitored and authenticated by Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Committees can be put on a central server and shared across India among various dioceses. Unfortunately most parishes do not have these with the respective Bishops / Archbishops of various dioceses / archdioceses being mum on their non-implementation.
Indian Christians constitute roughly 2% of the total population. The Indian Church being one of the richest, can easily take care of its flock from its own resources.
CBCI should take the lead in this through its diocesewise network. The Catholic Church in India owns the largest chunk of non-agricultural land, and is known as the second largest employer after the Government of India. It’s annual budget equals that of the Indian Navy but the Catholic community has been asking where is the money and where is the transparency?
As of now we do not have any authentic statewise database of Christians of various denominations, not even CBCI. The Indian Church has to develop its own database mainly to counter wrong reporting during the Census or by the paid media.
Sample database which I developed for my parish and also for the Archdiocese (put in the cold storage) is available with me (kindly contact: Isaac Gomes <firstname.lastname@example.org). This can be further improved by providing separate passwords for data administrator, access rights and data entry rights.
Isaac Gomes (Kolkotta)
Indian archbishop calls for action on jobless Christians – Survey reveals unemployment among Christians has nearly doubled
An unemployed Indian labourer holds balloons for sale as he waits for tourists at the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai in this 2005 file photo. (Photo by AFP)
ucanews.com reporter in New Delhi, India – An Indian archbishop is urging the government to take steps to reverse a rising unemployment rate among Christians.
"Unemployment among Christians is really a problem," said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal.
The government should formulate "measures to eradicate" unemployment among Christians so "that the trust and confidence can be formed among the (religious) minority community," he said in a Feb. 24 statement.
His appeal came after the National Sample Survey Office published a report that showed unemployment among Christians nearly doubled in 2010-2011 compared to the previous two years.
The report, Employment and Unemployment Situation Among Major Religious Groups in India, was released early this month based on data collected during the same period.
It showed Christians who lived in villages were unemployed at a rate of 4.5 percent, while Christians in cities were at 5.9 percent, both substantial increases from the previous survey that showed a 3.9 rate for villages and 2.9 for cities.
Archbishop Cornelio told ucanews.com that state-sanctioned discrimination against Christians "is the biggest reason" for increasing unemployment. "In a secular state, every one should get equal opportunities. Lack of it will only increase issues like this," he said.
Christians do not receive the same protection as other ethnic minority and lower-caste groups. The Indian Constitution grants quotas in government jobs for lower caste people. Christians of lower caste origin are denied this benefit on the grounds that Christianity does not accept the caste system. However, majority of Christians especially in northern India are of lower caste origin.
"This situation should change. Religion does not change a person's social or economic situation. The government should take measures to end this discrimination," Archbishop Cornelio said.
"Christians are educated but they are not getting the jobs they deserve. That is the reality," he said.
He explained that educated Christians look to get jobs according to their level of education, but most often are discriminated in state departments because of their religion.