Resource centre on India's rural distress
 
 

Eye-opening study on Punjab's rural women labourers poses many questions in poll season -Rajeev Khanna

-Down to Earth

High debts, sexual exploitation, gender disparity, caste discrimination and exclusion from the political process continue to bedevil these mostly Dalit women

An eye-opening study released on March 19, 2019, on the plight of rural women labourers in Punjab, has brought to centre-stage, the issue of the failure of India’s political system to deliver after more than 72 years of independence.

The document points at the marginalisation of these women, overwhelmingly belonging to Dalit communities, in politics, the economy and also their households.

While bringing out the vulnerability of these women to exploitation of all types, the study also brings out the dire need of programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and why they need to be extended in terms of employable days.

‘Socio Economic Conditions and Political Participation of Rural Women Labourers in Punjab’ has been documented by Professor Gian Singh, an expert on rural and agriculture economics, along with his team comprising Dharampal, Gurinder Kaur, Veerpal Kaur and Jyoti.

It was released at Punjabi University in Patiala. Gian Singh got women from his study sample to unveil the work. He disclosed that around 92 per cent of the rural women labourers are Dalits, 7.08 per cent come from Other Backward Castes and the remaining miniscule numbers are from the General category.

Surinder Singh, an economist and a former member of the Planning Commission, pointed out that the most credible part of the work is that it brings out primary data from 1,017 households across 12 districts of Punjab. This, he said, puts a big question mark on the claims of various governments about their deliverance. “There is an increasing shortage of primary data and secondary data is not authentic,” he added.

Pointing at the recent controversy over the present Central government trying to put the lid on a survey underlining the spiralling of unemployment to double digits, Surinder Singh said the previous governments did the same when they did not release poverty estimates for a decade until the Suresh Tendulkar Committee report came.

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