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

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.