Study: Dalits Face Discrimination and Neglect Under BJP Rule in India

A recent study by the Centre for Dalit Studies reveals a pattern of discrimination, violence, and social exclusion faced by Dalits in India under the BJP government. The report highlights neglect in education, employment, land ownership, and budget allocation, with Dalits lagging behind in key indicators.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Study: Dalits Face Discrimination and Neglect Under BJP Rule in India

Study: Dalits Face Discrimination and Neglect Under BJP Rule in India

A recent study by the Centre for Dalit Studies (CDS) in Hyderabad reveals a pattern of discrimination, violence, and social exclusion faced by Dalits in India under the BJP government. The report, help titled "Untouchable Reality: A Decade of Dalit Setbacks under Modi's BJP Rule," highlights neglect towards the Dalit community in crucial areas such as education, employment, land ownership, and budget allocation.

Why this matters: The ongoing discrimination and neglect of Dalits in India have significant implications for the country's social and economic development, as well as its international reputation as a democratic nation. If left unaddressed, these issues can perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality, undermining India's progress towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite special legislative provisions aimed at elevating the societal and economic condition of Dalits, the community continues to lag behind in key indicators. The literacy rate among Dalits stands at 73.5%, lower than the national average of 80.9% according to the 2011 Census. Dalit enrollment in higher education in 2018-19 fell short of the mandated quota of 15%, with less than 20% of students enrolled in many large states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar being from Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes (ST).

The unemployment rate among Dalits was 8.3% in 2019, higher than the national average of 6.7%. Representation of SCs and STs in All India Services over the last five years remains dismal, with only 7.65% of SCs and 3.80% of STs given representation. The average per capita income of Dalits was Rs 47,124, significantly lower than the national average of Rs 74,000 based on the 2011 census.

Land ownership and agricultural holdings among Dalits have also declined. The proportion of agricultural operational holdings by SCs decreased from 12.36% in 2010-11 to 11.84% in 2015-16. For STs, the operated area held decreased from 11.42% to 11.27% during the same period. Poverty remains rampant, with a SC family having an annual income of just Rs 89,000 compared to Rs 1,46,000 for upper caste families according to NFHS data from 2011.

Atrocities against Scheduled Castes have seen a disturbing surge during the BJP's tenure. The CDS report states, "The rise in atrocities against Dalits under BJP rule highlights not only a failure of governance but also a betrayal of trust and disregard for principles of democracy and social justice." The study argues that the BJP government has veered away from the principles enshrined in Article 46 of the Constitution, which mandates promotion of educational and economic interests of SCs and STs.

The report cites the Gujarat model, touted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as being disastrous for Dalits during the BJP's 25-year regime in the state. Inadequate budget allocations have exacerbated their suffering and perpetuated socio-economic disparities. In contrast, the study points to the Telangana government's enactment of the SC and ST Special Development Fund Act as a model for all states, ensuring allocated funds are appropriately utilized for the development of these communities.

The CDS report demands necessary budgetary allocations, incorporation of life and technical skills into the curriculum, enhancement of agricultural reforms, assessment of land reforms, and allocation of feasible extents to ensure land rights for Dalit farmers. It serves as a stark reminder of the persistent challenges and discrimination faced by the Dalit community, despite constitutional safeguards and legislative provisions aimed at their upliftment and empowerment.

Key Takeaways

  • Dalits face discrimination, violence, and social exclusion under BJP government.
  • Literacy rate among Dalits is 73.5%, lower than national average of 80.9%.
  • Dalit unemployment rate is 8.3%, higher than national average of 6.7%.
  • Average per capita income of Dalits is Rs 47,124, lower than national average.
  • Atrocities against Dalits have surged during BJP's tenure, with a failure of governance.