Caste and social exclusion in rural labour markets

Authored by: Chandi Charan Mehentar

The Routledge Handbook of Exclusion, Inequality and Stigma in India

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367272388
eBook ISBN: 9780429295706
Adobe ISBN:


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The Indian labour market is diversified with transitional occupation. It is regulated by dominant groups of the elite. This process passes from one generation to another. Hence, the exclusion of caste turns society into a graded one. Some groups are able to access everything from land to assets and business, but some specific groups are still denied opportunity to acquire a job in the organised sector. This chapter examines the proportionate share of SC/ST employment in three broad sectors across social groups in rural India. It also analyses the magnitude and trend of change in employment across social groups. There is a high incidence of employment belonging to SC/STs in the unorganised sector and share of casual workers across landownership in India. The chapter also argues that low wages for the Scheduled Castes are due to discrimination rather than economic factors. Their educational attainment, skill and experience are not determined by employment; more precisely, caste will determine what they do. Hence, social exclusion creates involuntary unemployment among them and increases inequality in rural India.

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