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Marginalised groups face unequal access to public goods

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‘The inaccessibility of decent work is not an arbitrary occurrence’

Dalits, tribals, Muslims, women and the differently abled continue to face unequal access to public goods such as education, decent work, housing and equal justice before the law, according to new data.

The India Exclusion Report 2013-14, researched and written by the Delhi-based Centre for Equity Studies, looks at the extent of exclusion of marginalised groups from access to public goods. The report, an advance copy of which was shared with The Hindu, finds that while Adivasis diverge from the national average most in terms of overall literacy (12.9 percentage points below the national average) and other education indicators, the current attendance rate for Muslim children is also nearly 5 percentage points below the national average.

In the housing sector, the extent of deprivations faced by marginalised communities is similar, the report finds. SCs and STs, and among them, female-headed SC and ST households, have lower quality housing on average as well as far worse access to household services such as toilets and drains. Moreover, both the housing and housing finance markets have been found to practise systematic segregation along religious, caste and sexual identity lines, the report finds.

In the labour market, “the inaccessibility of decent work is not an arbitrary occurrence, but is buried in traditions of caste, class, religion, and gender,” the report finds. Dalits and Adivasis are over-represented in agricultural and non-agricultural labour, especially on a casual basis, the report finds using National Sample Survey data. “Muslims with regular employment are mostly involved in inferior or low-end work, and as a result their job conditions are generally much worse than those of other regular workers, including of Dalits and Adivasis,” the report finds. Persons with disabilities are also particularly excluded from the labour market while women suffer from multiple disadvantages in the labour market.

Exclusion is not restricted to physical goods alone; one of the clearest indicators of the exclusionary nature of law and justice in India is the significant over-representation of marginalized groups such as Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims in the prison populations, particularly of under trial prisoners who are yet to be convicted of their alleged crime, the report says.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 7:21:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/marginalised-groups-face-unequal-access-to-public-goods/article6093304.ece

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