A two-day national seminar titled ‘Dalit households in village economies' begins in Kolkata on Friday. Organised by the Sociological Research Unit at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, it will focus on the extent and forms of economic discrimination that rural dalits across the country face.

V.K. Ramachandran, Professor at the Sociological Research Unit, ISI, said the seminar would explore the issue of “how direct and indirect forms of discrimination” affect livelihood prospects of Dalit households in India. The seminar will also provide an account of the market and non-market forms of discrimination that Dalits face, he said.

Caste-based discrimination is “a peculiarly Indian form of establishing hierarchies, which has serious consequences for large sections of people”, Prof. Ramachandran said.

“There is clearly a need for rigorous micro-studies of the access of the victims of sectional deprivation to land, employment, credit, and other inputs in the contemporary context,” Prof. Ramachandran said. A key highlight of the seminar will be the presentation of a series of village studies from across the country. The seminar is being supported by the ISI, the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and the Foundation of Agrarian Studies.