New Delhi: The Centre for Equity Studies (CES) released the India Exclusion Report 2016 on this Friday at the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi. The organisation is independent, researching the socio-economic injustice issues in India.
The India Exclusion Report reviews exclusion with respect to four public goods, one each in the areas of the social sector; infrastructure; land-labour, natural resources, and legal justice.
It mainly studies the causes of the social injustice and inequity that falls on the lower sections.
This year, the topics of inquiry are pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for under-trials.
The continuous exclusion of Dalits, Tribals, Muslims, and Elderly and Disabled from the four chosen fundamental public services has deprived them of the services.
Harsh Mander who edited the report in its introduction, writes “The headline of this and indeed every exclusion report so far has been that the evidence is consistent that for virtually every public good that we examine, it is always the same sets of peoples who are excluded”
Further, he writes “These are the historically oppressed group of women, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, persons with disabilities and casual informal workers and the poor. This report only confirms these findings, and illuminates the multiple ways in which even the democratic state in the Indian republic has failed these oppressed peoples and not assured them equitable access to the public goods essential for them to lead lives of dignity”.
The report also questions the distribution and ownership of lands that falls under landowners who belong to upper class, cultivators fall under the middle castes, whereas agricultural workers are largely Dalits and Adivasis.
The report read as “The rate of landlessness was highest among Dalits at 57.3%. Among Muslims, it was 52.6%, and 56.8% of women-headed households were landless. Around 40% of all those displaced by “development activity” were Adivasis”
Further adding to the report it says “Land reform efforts have not benefited Dalits, women or Muslims significantly. Land allotments to SC/ST households were often only on paper, as allottees were forcefully evicted or not allowed to take possession”.
The report also has a question for PM Narendra Modi regarding unemployment in the country.
“Yet more than halfway through his tenure, there are almost no jobs available. Job creation has fallen to levels even below those that the preceding UPA government plunged to,” notes the report.
The report also points towards the rising rich-poor gap in the country.
It notes as the claims to cover 1,00,200 panchayats under Phase 1 by March 2014 under the Digital India Vision, it only added 48,199 panchayats by April 2016 out of which only close to 6,000 panchayats have internet access.
Commenting on the legal justice, the report proposes that state governments, prison departments, and the jail authorities must work in together and also adopt certain new measures for reforms in order to make the custody system more open.
Political leader and Adivasi activist Soni Sori while reacting to the report, says “Yes the report indicates the reality of Adivasis. The discrimination with them is not only in these four parameters but many others also.”
“Adivasis don’t get pension and legal justice is out of bounds for them. We have seen it many times; a tribal picked up by police and thrown in lockup for weeks without an FIR” continuous Soni in conversation with TwoCircles.net.
Paul Diwakar reacting to the report says “The continuous exclusion of Dalits from public goods can be attributed to the fact that they are not at power block. At policy designing and implementation, Dalits don’t have any say and there is lack of accountability involved”
“So, instead of having policies which are pro disadvantaged sections, they frame general polices” says Diwakar, General Secretary of National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) to TwoCircles.net.
The report comes as no surprise to Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.
He says, “The government of India which usually calls for sabka-saath and sabka-vikas should spell out the reasons why there is still such exclusion of Muslim in provision of public goods”, as reported in Justicenews.