Skip to main content

Rise in income gap between upper and lower castes "reduces" crimes against Dalits, tribals

Dalit women
By Rajiv Shah
Taking a strange view, a senior researcher of the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, Smriti Sharma, has reached the drastic conclusion that crimes against the scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled castes (STs) by the upper castes would go down with the rise in the income levels of the latter. The scholar reaches her controversial conclusion on the basis the analysis of the officially-available data of 2000s.
In a research paper, “Caste-based crimes and economic status: Evidence from India”, published in the “Journal of Comparative Economics” (43, 2015), Sharma has used district-level official data on crimes against SCs and STs and per capita expenditure data of different social groups to say that there was a “decline in the ratio of SC/ST expenditure to upper castes’ expenditure” between early 2000s and late 2000s from “71 percent to 64 percent.”
This decline in the expenditure ratio, leading to “widening of the gap between lower and upper castes”, is associated with a decline in their crime against SC/ST, she suggests. Thus, according to her, a 10 per cent decline in the gap would mean a 3 percent decrease in the overall crime rate, and more specifically “a 3.5 percent decrease in Indian Penal Code crimes”.
According to Sharma, “The incidence of caste violence is positively correlated with the ratio of expenditures of lower castes and tribes to that of upper castes. Dividing the crimes into predominantly violent and non-violent crimes, we find that changes in relative material standards of living between groups lead to changes in violent crimes, particularly those aimed at extracting some form of economic surplus or property from the victims.”
“Moreover”, underscores the scholar, “These are driven by changes in the upper castes’ economic well-being rather than changes in the economic position of the lower castes and tribes.”
The scholar uses the crime data from the annual publication “Crime in India” by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Government of India. The data are based on complaints filed with the police. For this study, she uses the crime data from 2001 to 2010 for 415 districts that make up the 18 large states.
Crimes under SLL are include denying admission to Dalits into places of recreation and worship, educational institutions and hospitals; denying Dalits access to water sources; wrongfully occupying land owned by SC/ST; stripping them naked; practice of untouchability; compelling them to do bonded labor or scavenging jobs and so on.
As for expenditures of different social groups, the scholar takes National Sample Survey n (NSSO) data for relating to consumer expenditure’ and employment-unemployment of two periods, 1999–2000 (55th round) and 2004–2005 (61st round).
The scholar finds that between the two periods, the SC/ST average MPCE SC/ST expenditures increased by 19.6 percent, whereas expenditure of upper castes and OBCs grew by 36.4 percent and 27.5 percent respectively, “indicating that the rate of increase was slowest for the SC/ST groups.”
“While OBC expenditure and SC/ST expenditure have no significant association with crime rate, the upper castes’ expenditure coefficient is negative and significant, implying that a 10 percent increase in their expenditure is associated with a 3.4 percent decrease in crime rates”, the scholar says.
Despite this conclusion, the scholar seeks to clarify, “We are not suggesting that reducing inequalities is undesirable, but stressing that despite significant social and economic transformation, caste hierarchies continue to remain deeply entrenched in contemporary India and these fraught caste relations often result in violent outcomes.”

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.