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Higher percentage of Gujarat families live in kuccha houses, Dalits dependence on casual labour more than India average

By Rajiv Shah
The latest Socio Economic and Caste Survey (SECC) 2011, released recently by Government of India, has revealed that, despite claims of Gujarat "model" to remove poverty, things are not so rosy as it may seem for the vulnerable sections of rural population. Not only do a much higher proportion of families in Gujarat live in kuccha houses, more Dalit households are dependent on manual casual labour than most of the 21 major states.
SECC data show that Gujarat’s 44.52 per cent rural families live in kuccha houses, which is worse than all major 21 states with the exception of poor states such as Chhattisgarh, Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar. The national average of families living in kuccha houses is 43.5 per cent. Though it is supposed to be a caste census, there is, however, no breakup separately for Dalits, Adivasis and "Others" -- the three categories worked out by SECC for providing separate data -- for the type of houses they live in.
Yet, there are spots which show up what's wrong with Gujarat "model". Thus, there are higher proportion of Dalit households in rural Gujarat dependent on manual casual labour than  15 other Indian states. An analysis of 21 major states suggests that more Dalit households than Gujarat are dependent on manual casual labour only in four states – Punjab (77.2 per cent), Bihar (76.21 per cent), Haryana (73.22 per cent), and Kerala 64.92 per cent).
The SECC data further reveal that, when it comes to income, only 6.8 per cent of Dalit households have highest earning persons earning more than Rs 10,000 in Gujarat. This is less than eight out of 21 major states – Jammu & Kashmir (16.61 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (16.35 per cent), Uttarkhand (7.62 per cent), Assam (7.58 per cent), Maharashtra (7.29 per cent), Jharkhand (7.01 per cent), Punjab (6.98 per cent), and Haryana (6.8 per cent).
As for Adivasis in Gujarat, there may be a much lower proportion of Adivasi households compared to the Dalits who are dependent on manual casual labour (35.62 per cent), which is the exact equal to the all-India average. This may be because they may be dependent on collecting forest produce. Even then, this is worse than 11 other states.
Further, there are just 4.33 per cent Adivasi households in Gujarat whose highest earning members' income is more than Rs 10,000. This is against Dalits’ 6.8 per cent, and Others’ 11.39 per cent. The Others category includes all non-Dalits and non-Adivasis and consists of other backward classes, minorities and Hindu upper castes. The all-India average is 4.48 per cent families.
The SECC data further suggest that, in the ownership of assets,  the state’s Dalits and Adivasis are worse off than those forming part of the Others category. Thus, in rural Gujarat, there are 29.99 per cent Other households who own a motorized two wheelers – model or motorbike – as against 18.11 per cent Dalits and 14.04 per cent Adivasis.
The SECC data also suggest that 20.19 per cent Other households which have refrigerators, as against Dalits’ 8.39 per cent and Adivasis’ 4.98 per cent. Further, while there are 79.52 per cent Other households which have either mobile or landline phone at their residence, as against 74.32 per cent Dalits and 56.27 per cent Adivasis.
Interesting though it may seem, average households' assets in Gujarat households are to be found be better than most of Indian Indian states. Thus, on an average, 25.83 per cent of Gujarat’s households own two-wheelers, which is higher than all states except Punjab (40.95 per cent), Tamil Nadu (29.91 per cent), Haryana (27.08 per cent), and Telangana (26.95 per cent). 
Then, 16.19 per cent Gujarat households have refrigerators, with the national average being 11.4 per cent. And, Gujarat’s 25.8 per cent households do not have either mobile or landline, as against the national average of 27.93 per cent.

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