English, Society

Graded Caste Inquality and Poverty

Graded caste inequality is the most stubborn feature of the ancient caste system which continues with some of its worst features even today. In view of this context, this paper looks at the persistence of graded caste inequality and the role of economic discrimination, drawing mainly from the recent empirical and theoretical research. It examines the following three interrelated aspects of the graded caste inequality (a) Nature of (graded) inequality in income and poverty, and other indicators of human development like malnutrition and education, particularly among three castes: former untouchables (SCs), OBC and higher castes (HCs); (b) Empirical evidence from recent studies on market and non-market discrimination faced by the SC; and (c) Impact of discrimination on income and poverty of SCs, OBCs and HCs in a graded manner. We find that much of the inequality in per capita consumption expenditure is due to inequality in asset ownership (agricultural land and enterprise) and higher education.

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