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Caste Hierarchies and Substantive Discrimination through NREGA

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Caste Hierarchies and Substantive Discrimination through NREGA


It has been argued that caste hierarchies in India have been influenced by Social Sector Investment. Access to better education, health, income and in decision making in village democracy is, perhaps, a significant change that resulted in empowering the vulnerable section of rural society. More recently, the implementation of demand driven employment guarantee scheme has tried to positively influence access to employment and income of the deprived section of the society. Added cash in hand of the households from marginalised section also means economic transformation. The employment guarantee scheme, NREGA, intends to positively discriminate for the disadvantaged groups like scheduled tribes and scheduled caste in rural India. It would be worth analysing if the intended bias in favour of socially disadvantaged group remains positive during implementation of this programme. Or the emerging dominant case, specifically belonging to OBC or other castes have emerged as main beneficiaries of the substantive discrimination in the form of NREGA. This paper, using data from 12044 households located in 400 villages of 16 districts of Madhya Pradesh, analyses awareness about the prerequisites of getting work in NREGA, demand for work, employed days and wages received, delay in payments, mode of payment, reasons for not getting work, attitude towards NREGA, and impact perceived by different social groups in rural Madhya Pradesh. In doing this, the paper argues that emerging realities in rural Madhya Pradesh are indicating of a abolition of old hierarchies through this positive discrimination. The most vulnerable in society are too pre-occupied with migration- based-livelihood struggles to take advantage of NREGA. In the process, the not-so-vulnerable from the old hierarchies are being equally benefited.

Kumar, Yogesh and Sah, D.C. Caste Hierarchies and Substantive Discrimination through NREGA. [Discussion or working paper]


Item Type: Discussion or working paper
Additional Information: Draft for Comments
Subjects: Sociology & Anthropology
Politics
Keywords: NREGA, caste, hierarchies, discrimination
Divisions: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Depositing User:
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/5659
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