Skip to main content

Gujarat govt doesn't want to reveal: Cept Univ untouchability study suggested massive economic discrimination

Cover of the Navsarjan report
By Our Representative
The Gujarat government may have refused to table the Cept University’s “alternative study on education” titled, “Impact of Caste Discrimination and Distinctions on Equal Opportunities: A Study of Gujarat”, in the state assembly, giving the technical explanation that it has not been prepared by a commission appointed by the state government.
However, ironically, following several Right to Information (RTI) pleas, top Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust forced the state government in 2013 to part with the Cept study, which runs into 300 pages.
The study was handed over to Navsarjan Trust activist Kirit Rathod, who sent the RTI plea, following a State Information Commission (SIC) order in June 2013, asking Gujarat’s social justice and empowerment department to part with it “within a month.”
Earlier, refusing hand over the report, in a strange explanation, the state government trued to argue out that providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on prevalence of untouchability in the state would lead to “a sharp rise in incidence of enmity in the rural areas of Gujarat.”
Downloadable HERE, significantly, the Cept University study, commissioned by the state government, was supposedly meant to “counter” a 2009 Navsarjan report, “Understanding Untouchability” (click HERE), which had claimed, on the basis of a survey in 1,589 villages involving 5,462 individuals, that untouchability was part of way of life in rural Gujarat.
Prepared by a group of scholars led by Prof R Parthasarathy, formerly with Cept University and currently director, Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR), the study, despite saying that caste discrimination in Gujarat is “largely related to perceptions”, agrees, through a plethora of data from the five villages it surveyed, that economic discrimination has remained intact.
The five villages it surveyed were Khavda in Kutch district, Kherva in Surendranagar district, Nava Nesda in Banakantha district, Transad in Ahmedabad district, and Menpura in Kheda district.
Samples taken by the scholars reveal that 65.3 per cent of Dalit of scheduled caste (SC) households in the five villages are dependent on agricultural labour as the main source of income, as against 30.6 per cent other backward class (OBC) households and just about 4 per cent other castes and community (OCC) households.
They Cept study said that while just about 12 per cent of SC households are dependent on regular employment, where it is possible to earn a higher income over a longer period of time, compared to 22.4 per cent OBC households and 34.7 per cent OCC households.
The study revealed, among the cultivators, 63.2 per cent of the SC households own less than one hectare (ha) of land, as against 29.8 OBC households, and just seven per cent OCC households.
The study suggests, a larger number of SC and OVC households are forced to migrate to other places for agricultural work with family because of poverty. “Households were enquired if any members undertook migration for work in the last three years…” Among those who migrated, “whereas 55 per cent of the households are OBC, 42 per cent are SC, there are just one per cent OCC households.”
Coming to assets, 53.7 per cent of SC households and 51 per cent of OBC households live in pucca houses, as against 90 per cent OCC households. Further, only 26.7 per cent of the SC households and 20 per cent OBC households have toilets at home, as against 87.6 per cent of OCC households.
Just about 8.6 per cent of SC households own scooters or motorbikes, as against 17.9 per cent OBC households and 61.1 per cent OCC households. And, 6.3 per cent SC households have fridge as against 9.7 per cent OBC households and 62.2 per cent OCC households.
The study also shows that 63.40 per cent SC households are below poverty line (BPL), and are dependent on subsidized BPL ration, as against 37.2 per cent OBC households and just about 4.40 per cent OCC households.
Interestingly, while the Gujarat government asserted in the state assembly on Tuesday that the Navsarjan report “Understanding Untouchability”, was “one-sided and anti-government”, possibly the reason why the Cept University was commissioned an alternative study, top scholar Prof Ghanshyam Shah believes there is little reason to brush it aside like this.
According to Shah, who critiqued the Cept University study in 2013, the Navsarjan report has been authored, among others, by well-known scholars attached with the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center), USA. Three of them are from academic institutions in the US – David Armstrong, University of Wisconsin, Christian Davenport, University of Notre Dame, and Allan Stam, University of Michigan.

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.