Social Justice

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Based on data and knowledge resources available in the public domain, India Exclusion Report 2013-14 highlights the systematic discrimination faced by women, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Muslims, persons with disabilities and the sexual minorities (LGBT) in accessing the public goods and services. As per the India Exclusion Report 2013-14, which has been prepared by Centre for Equity Studies (New Delhi), Aneka (Bangalore), Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (New Delhi), Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion (New Delhi), Indian Institute of Human Settlement (Bangalore), Nirantar (New Delhi), New Education Group-Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education (New Delhi), National University of Education Planning and Administration (New Delhi), Institute of Development Studies, Sussex (UK) and Brown University, Providence (USA), (Please click here to download):

• While 53% of all households nationally do not have a latrine within the premises, the figure rises to 66% and 77% for SC and ST households respectively, and, within them, to 78% and 88% for female-headed SC and ST households, respectively, as per the Census 2011.

• About 82% of all households in India have either open or no drains for waste water. This figure rises to 88% for female-headed households and to 94% for ST households.

• Census 2011 data shows that 63 per cent of all households in recognized or notified slums have either open or no drainage for waste water. About 34 per cent of slum households have no latrine on the premises, and members of over half of such households thus defecate in the open. Almost 43 per cent of slum households do not have a source of drinking water within the premises of their household.

• More than 95 percent of the housing shortage in 2012 was experienced by families belonging to Low Income Group (household income between Rs 5,000 & 10,000 a month) and Economically Weaker Sections (household income under Rs 5,000 a month), as per the Kundu Committee report (2012).

• The incidence of poverty in rural areas during 2009-10 among dalits (SCs) is 31.7%, adivasis (STs) is 33.8% and Muslims is 25.6% while the same among the entire population is 23.7% as per the India Public Policy Report 2014 (based on NSS data).

• The incidence of poverty in urban areas during 2009-10 among dalits (SCs) is 31.0%, adivasis (STs) is 34.3% and Muslims is 37.1% while the same among the entire population is 23.2% as per the India Public Policy Report 2014 (based on NSS data).
• The literacy rate for SCs in 2011 was similarly below the national average, at 66.1 per cent. In 2012–13, the drop in enrolment of SC children from the primary (classes I–V) to upper primary (classes V–VII) level was 54.4 per cent, compared to an overall dropout rate of 51.8 per cent.

• The National Council of Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) National Achievement Survey (NAS) of class V students, conducted in 2012 across 6,602 schools in India, revealed that while girls and boys performed similarly when tested in reading comprehension, mathematics and environmental sciences, SC and ST students consistently under-performed with respect to other caste students in all three subject areas.

• The literacy rate for STs, as per the Census of 2011, was 58.9 per cent, significantly lower than for the general population. Similarly, the dropout rate from the primary (classes I–V) to upper primary (classes V–VII) level for ST children in 2012–13 was 58.5 per cent, also much higher than the overall dropout rate.

• Literacy data for Muslims from the Census of 2011 is not available. However, the NSS 66th round (2009–10) estimates the Muslim literacy rate (among persons aged 15 years and above) to be 63.7 per cent, lower than the overall literacy rate (68.3 percent), but higher than for SCs (58.5 per cent) and STs (55.4 per cent).

• The Gandhi Peace Foundation and National Labour Institute survey in 1979 estimated that between 90 and 94 per cent of bonded labourers were illiterate. Among rehabilitated bonded labourers covered in the Planning Commission survey in 2009, about 76 percent were found to be illiterate.

• Even among already rehabilitated bonded workers covered in the Planning Commission survey, only 43.7 per cent reported having a Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration card.

• Estimations put the number of destitute persons in India at approximately 10 per cent of the total population, more than 100 million people. The same estimation projects that these 100 million form one-third of the extremely poor. On the other hand, India counts 55 billionaires, representing a total net worth of US$194 billion.

• The Janwadi Mahila Samiti survey of 2008–09 showed that most home-based workers (irrespective of the industries that they worked in) earned between Rs. 20–50 per day after five to eight hours of work.

• NSSO data for 2009–10 shows that 92.1 per cent of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in rural areas were landless or hadlandholdings of one hectare or less. This has led to a preponderance of SCs in casual labour.

• NSSO data shows that in 2009–10, 59 per cent of SCs in rural areas were engaged as agricultural or non-agricultural labourers, compared to an overall average of 40.4 per cent; in urban areas too, 25.1 per cent of SCs worked as casual labour, as opposed to 13.4 per cent of the overall population.

• NSSO statistics indicate that in 2009–10, 76.5 per cent of Scheduled Tribe (ST) households in rural areas were either landless or had less than 1 hectare of land. The share of tribal households with small and marginal landholdings has been steadily increasing over time.

• The case of nomadic and de-notified tribes (DNTs), who number an estimated 60 million in India, is also worth highlighting here. The caste-based Census has not identified DNTs as a separate category, and they are counted within the SC, ST and OBC communities. Finding recent and exact statistical data for this group is very difficult. However, in a survey carried out in western Maharashtra in 1990–92, it was found out that 53.75 per cent of DNT families were dependent on wage labour, 22.6 per cent on service (public and private sector), 9.59 per cent on petty trade, 9.22 per cent on so-called criminal activities like begging, pick-pocketing and distilling alcohol, and 4.81 per cent on agriculture. DNTs are also employed as migrant bonded labourers in brick kilns, sugarcane and stone cutting industries.

• In India, NSSO survey in 2007–08 revealed that 40 per cent of those aged 60 years and above were still working. The figure is much higher among men, and in rural areas. In developed countries this ratio is closer to 20 per cent.

• The official labour force participation rate for men, which measures the proportion of the total male population in the labour force, stood at 55.6 per cent in 2011–12, unchanged from its level in 2004–05. For women, already scarcely represented in India’s labour market, the labour market participation in the same period dropped from 29.4 per cent to 22.5 per cent. This large remaining share of the population, while not recorded as being a part of the labour force, is nonetheless involved in a range of labour activities. Some of these activities are nonremunerative—examples include the involvement of women, children and the elderly in household tasks and care-giving—while others, like homebased work, domestic work, child labour, and work by the elderly, are remunerated but remain unseen and difficult to detect under formal labour registration systems.

• Out of every 100 workers, the NCEUS report revealed, 86 work in the informal economy, producing half of India’s economic output. Hence, around 400 million workers, a number considerably larger than the total population of the United States of America, are employed with little job security or any formal entitlement to the protection of the state.

• Trilok S Papola and Partha P Sahu (2012) note that the proportion of informally employed workers in the formal sector has also risen over time, from 42 per cent of total formal sector employment in 1999–2000, to 51 per cent in 2009–10. As a result, in 2009–10, 92 per cent of all workers, in the formal and informal sectors combined, were effectively in ‘informal’ employment. Such trends can be explained by the increasing move towards the use of contract labour within the formal-sector, in order to increase profits and avoid adhering to labour laws.

• According to the Census of India 2011, about 5 per cent of workers in urban areas are employed in household industries, out of which about 40 per cent are women. During 1999–2000, there were about 23.5 million home-based workers in India, out of which 44 per cent were women. National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data of 2009–10 shows that 30.7 per cent of self-employed persons in urban India worked at home; 72.1 per cent of selfemployed females in urban India worked at home, while 21.3 per cent self-employed males worked at home. Home-based workers tend to be among the poorest Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) quintile classes. Put simply, most home-based workers are relatively poor.

• While Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the past two decades accelerated to 7.52 per cent per annum, employment growth during this period was just 1.5 per cent, below the long-term employment growth of 2 per cent per annum, over the four decades since 1972. Just 2.7 million jobs were added in the period from 2004–05 to 2009–10, compared to over 60 million during the previous five-year period.

• The services sector, which has seen rapid growth since the early 1990s, accounted for 58.3 per cent of GDP in 2004–05, but its share of employment was only 29 per cent. In contrast, labour-intensive manufacturing accounted for only 17 per cent of GDP and 12 per cent of employment, which was not materially different from the scenario in 1993–94.


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