Pay gap between FCs, SCs more blatant in private sector: study

Discrimination in salary between Forward Castes (FCs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs) employees is “more blatant” in private sector firms than in public sector across the country, according to a study by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC).

The pay gap between the two groups is an average 19.4 per cent in public sector and 31.7 per cent in private sectors when equally-qualified categories of employees are compared, revealed the study

The study was based on the 50th, 61st and 68th rounds of Employment and Unemployment Survey data of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).

Significantly, it notes that in the private sector, the wage gap between SCs and FCs has increased in the post-liberalisation period. Compared to FC workers, SC employees earned 11 per cent less in 1993-94, 17 per cent less in 2004-05 and 18 per cent less in 2011-12, said the study titled ‘Social Exclusion and Caste Discrimination in Public and Private Sectors in India: A Decomposition Analysis’ (2016) conducted by research scholar Smrutirekha Singhari and S. Madheswaran of ISEC.

They found that “SC workers are discriminated against in both the public and private sectors, but the effect is smaller in the public sector.” Pay disparity due to skill is 80.6 per cent in the public sector and 68.3 per cent in private sector.

The study argued that unequal labour market outcomes have their roots in discrimination in the past that has caused more harm to deprived backgrounds of disadvantaged workers. Noting that caste discrimination exists in regular salaried urban labour market in India, they said discrimination persisted in the public sector because the reservation quota for lower-caste applicants is close to full only in the less-skilled class ‘C’ and ‘D’ category jobs but far from filled in the higher category ‘A’ and ‘B’ category jobs, where FCs predominate.

Pre-labour market discrimination affects earnings indirectly by means of lower school investments, poor quality of education, field of study, accessibility to higher education, poorer nutrition and health status, and lower social capital, the study pointed out.

The magnitude of job discrimination is higher in private sector than in public sector except in clerical, production and trade related occupations. In spite of reservation in public sector, the prevalence of caste discrimination shows inefficient policy, said the study.

The researchers supported extending reservations or some form of affirmative action to the private sector, “which is firmly opposed by the private sector leaders, partly because they prefer avoiding any form of regulation over hiring”.

Some findings

Study says wage gap between Forward Castes and Scheduled Castes workers widened post-liberalisation

Job discrimination higher in private sector, except in clerical, production and trade related occupations

The study was conducted by two research scholars of the Institute for Social and Economic Change

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 8:29:45 AM |

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