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Caste Based Discrimination in India

Mar 4, 2023

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Context

Probable Questions

About the Status of Caste-based Discrimination in India

Constitutional Provisions and Anti-caste laws in India

Key Initiatives against Discrimination in India

Frequently Asked Questions

Caste Based Discrimination in India

Context

By amending the City Municipal Code, the Seattle City Council recently made history by becoming the first American city to outlaw caste-based discrimination.

  • In addition to race, gender, and religion, this also includes caste as a group that must be protected from discrimination.

Probable Questions

What are the anti-caste laws in India? (150 words, 10 marks)

About the Status of Caste-based Discrimination in India

  • The Indian Constitution and numerous laws prohibit caste discrimination, but despite strict legislation and reservation policies that benefit the weaker sections of society, caste violence and discrimination still occur.
  • To address the social discrimination that arose out of the practice of untouchability, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950 was enacted, recognizing Hindu Dalits as Scheduled Castes.
    • According to the Census (2011), there are an estimated 20 crore Dalits in India.
    • Later it was amended to include Dalits who had converted to Sikhism and Buddhism.  
    • The Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petitions now seeking the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims as Scheduled Castes.
  • In 2021, 50,900 cases of crimes against Scheduled Castes (SCs) were registered, an increase of 1.2% over 2020 (50,291 cases), according to National Crime Records Bureau data. 
  • The rate of crime was particularly high in Madhya Pradesh (63.6 per lakh in an SC population of 113.4 lakh) and Rajasthan (61.6 per lakh in an SC population of 112.2 lakh).
  • Several Muslim and Christian communities have been included in the Central and state lists of OBCs as a result of the Mandal Commission report's implementation.
caste based discrimination in India

Also Read: Rural Development in India

Constitutional Provisions and Anti-caste laws in India

  • According to article 14 of the Indian constitution, the state shall not deny equality to any person before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. 
  • Article 15 of the Constitution lays down that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
  • Article 17 states that untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.
  • Article 341 of the Constitution: The President may “specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall be deemed to be Scheduled Castes”.
  • The ‘Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955’ was the first Indian law that came into force to provide punishment for the preaching and practice of ‘Untouchability’ and for any matter connected with it. 
  • In 1989, the Government of India enacted ‘the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’, which recognized various kinds of acts of violence and discrimination inflicted upon the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes by non-scheduled castes and non-scheduled tribes as punishable offenses. 
  • It also provides for the provision of special courts at the district level to try the offenses under this Act.

Also Read: Major Tribes in India

Key Initiatives against Discrimination in India

  • Reservation for EWS: As a result of government efforts, the Constitution's 103rd Amendment Act of 2019 added New Articles 15(6) and 16(6). The Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) are eligible for a reservation of up to 10% in government jobs and government educational institutions under these Articles.
  • National Overseas Scholarship Scheme: Department of Social Justice & Empowerment (DoSJE) is implementing the National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) for Scheduled Castes etc. under which financial assistance is provided to selected students from Scheduled Castes
  • National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC): It is a Govt. of India undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. NBCFDC was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956.
  • Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA): Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment implements the Central Sector Scheme of “Grant-in-Aid to Voluntary and other Organizations working for Scheduled Castes” under which financial assistance is provided to the NGOs for projects related to Education sector to Scheduled Caste students.
Additional Information:

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) website states, “The rights of a person belonging to a Scheduled Tribe are independent of his/her religious faith.” 

News Source: The Hindu

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/explained-will-the-seattle-move-shield-against-caste-bias/article66554228.ece

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the various forms of caste discrimination in India?

The practice and threat of social exclusion, economic boycotts, and even physical violence serve to reinforce caste divisions in various caste systems around the world. Caste divisions also predominate in housing, marriage, and general social interaction.

What are the caste based problems in India?

As a way to explain why some people are born into poverty or low social status, casteism is frequently used to excuse inequality and oppression. Additionally, it supports the idea that people should not attempt to advance socially and should instead remain where they are. Because of this, social mobility may be prevented.

What are the causes of caste discrimination in India?

The major causes of casteism are a sense of caste prestige, caste endogamy, the impact of urbanization, an increase in the means of transport and communication, illiteracy, belief in religious dogmas, and social distance.

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