Vegetarianism in India: what are the Rules and Trends?

Vegetarianism in India: what are the Rules and Trends?

 

 

Being non-vegetarian in India may sound quite offensive. Meat-eating can hurt the sentiments of many. Recently the mayor of South Delhi decided to shut down all the meat shops in Navratri. The students have been allegedly found agitating on the making of chicken in the canteen on Ram Navmi. Endless controversies over serving eggs to the students in Karnataka during midday meals. Eating non-veg food often becomes a boiling issue for all the vegetarians of India.

But what is the actual trend, and who follows vegetarianism in India?

The latest report of the National Family Health Survey 5, which was conducted in 2019-21, shows that two in three Indians are non-vegetarians. However, they are not evenly spread across genders or even in the country.

State-wise analysis of the data points out that vegetarianism is more prevalent in the central and northern parts of the country than anywhere else. It also says that there are more non-vegetarian men than women. When it comes to the nutritious value, non-veg food is considered to have more proteins.

The data of NFHS-5 depicts that, on average, only 15% of men and 23% of women never consume meat, chicken, or fish. This shows that every five in six men and three in four women in India are non-vegetarian. However, the state-wise data reveals that there is a lot of difference in the food habits of people across India.

In central and north India, mainly comprising Haryana, Punjab Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, more than one third (33%)of men and half (50.07) of the women never eat meat. So in this region, the share of the vegetarian population is almost twice the total national average. Haryana has the highest number of vegetarians in India, with 56% of men and 80% of women. Next comes Rajasthan, with 63% men and 75% women.

On the other hand, the data from southern, eastern, and northeastern states show that vegetarians are in minority. In the states like Sikkim, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, being a vegetarian is not normal. Around 99% of people are non-vegetarians in these states, with only 1.3% of men and 1.6% of women not eating meat.

Meat

In the eastern states of Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, there are only 10% vegetarians. Similarly, in South Indian states like Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, only 5% of men and 8% of women never eat meat.

Vegetarianism in western India is higher than the national average of 23% men and 31% women. Gujarat comes up as the fourth most vegetarian state in India.

Despite an ample supply of seafood due to the long coastline of Gujarat, 50% of men and 60% of women eat vegetarian food.

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