What's New :
UPSC Interview Guidance Program. Register here...

India’s ‘untouchable’ women &discrimination

  • Published
    6th Jan, 2023
Context

Despite outlawing caste-based discrimination in 1950, Dalits still get discriminated against when applying for programs such as microloan schemes which are actually established to help them.

About

Challenges faced by Dalit Women:

  • Plethora of issues:Dalit women continue to suffer from a high degree of poverty, gender discrimination, caste discrimination, and socioeconomic deprivation.
  • Violence: Girls face violence at a younger age and at a higher rate than women of other castes.
  • Others
    • Exploitation by dominant castes
    • Lack of justice
    • Workplace violence

How caste plays its role in occupation?

  • Caste is essentially the stratification of peopleinto a rigid occupational hierarchy.
  • Dalits who are the last in the list, often called "untouchables" are excluded from all jobs except the worst paid and most degrading — on the pretext of maintaining the spiritual purity of those in higher castes.

 An attempt to help

  • In India, microloan programs have been embraced as a poverty-reduction policy.
  • Microloans are offered by for-profit, not-for-profit and government-owned banks.
    • The Reserve Bank of India regulates the sector and acts as a guarantor of microloans given by banks under national government-sponsored poverty alleviation schemes.
    • The Reserve Bank of India underwrites incentives including interest rates about half that offered to other women.

What are the problem with microloans?

  • Poor implementation of microfinance programs
  • lack of outcomes for Dalit women entrepreneurs in India
  • Discrimination at the branch level
  • Being humiliated when applying for a microloan — of help being refused when filling in a form, of being told not to sit on the same chairs as other bank customers, and of their application being rejected for no good reason.

How caste certificates ‘too’ creates hurdle?

  • To qualify for a program to assist Dalits, they had to prove they're a Dalit by supplying a government-issued caste certificate.
  • But this certificate then became the means for them be identified as Dalits and discriminated against.

Extra information

Unsung Dalit women heroes

  • Sabari from the Ramayana: example of acceptance, selflessness, and unconditional love
  • Sant Nirmala and Soyarabai: From Mahar caste, questioning Hindu orthodoxy.
  • Naegeli: Fought against the cruel “breast tax” system.
  • Kuyili: She commanded the army of Velu Nachiyar.
  • Queen of Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu: Dalit woman who fought against the British around 1780.
  • Jhalkaribai: Most trusted companion and advisor of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.
  • Uda Devil: formed a battalion consisting of Dalit women under the leadership of Begum Hazrat Mahal.
  • Savitribai Phule: A pioneer in education for Dalits
  • Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar fought against the exploitative Devadasi system.
  • Dakshayani Velayudhan: first and only Dalit woman to be elected to the constituent assembly in 1946.

Initiatives Taken to Promote Transformation

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
  • Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood (SANKALP) Scheme
  • Stand Up India Scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana
GS Mains Classes GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Our Centers

DELHI (Karol Bagh)

GS SCORE, 1B, Second Floor, Pusa Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi - 110005 (Beside Karol Bagh Metro Station Gate No. 8)

Get directions on Google Maps

BHUBANESWAR (Jaydev Vihar)

GS SCORE, Plot No.2298, Jaydev Vihar Square, Near HCG Day Care, BBSR - 751013

Get directions on Google Maps

LUCKNOW (Aliganj)

GS SCORE, 2nd Floor, B-33, Sangam Chauraha, Sector H, Aliganj, Lucknow, UP - 226024

Get directions on Google Maps

Enquire Now