Sunday, 19 May 2013

BARRIERS OF EMPOWERMENT OF DALIT WOMEN







WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT –THE WAY AHEAD
----Editors:Prof.Saheb Bhau Ohol,Onkar Nath Mishra,Jaya Kumari Pandey,Abhishek Kumar Chintu and Nakul Bhardwaj.(Publisher-Globus Press,NewDelhi,2013),pp 392,Price-1495/-(HB)
This book  contains selected topics in the field of development  issues related to women entrepreneurship,empowerment,micro finance,self help group etc.It has covered  a broad range of issues including programmes to promote women entrepreneuship and development.




BARRIERS OF EMPOWERMENT OF DALIT WOMEN
Dr. Debes Chandra Bhaumik (International Institute for Development Studies, Kolkata)
Dr. Asim Kumar Karmakar (Jadavpur University)
JEL- J15, J16, H53
Key words- Dalit women, Empowerment of dalit women
Introduction
Dalit women are mostly deprived, socially excluded, less literate , absentee of property rights, and less empowerment socially and economically. They are ignorance about women entrepreneurship. They are poverty stricken having minimum access of maintaining standard of living. The total number of dalit women in India is 80.517 million or approximately 48% of the total dalit population, 16% of the total female population and 8% of the total Indian Population.
They make majority of unorganised labourer in urban settings and landless labourers in rural area. They face discrimination on a daily basis, as a dalit, as women and as a poor  while they are in extremely vulnerable position. Systemic violence against dalit women can be seen as a mechanism to keep dalit in a subordinated position. It is built in to the total structure of the dominant society, which does not acknowledge the basic human rights of dalit in general
and dalit women in particular. In this paper, we are interested to discuss about the notable social, economic and political barriers of attainment of empowerment of dalit women.
The Barriers for empowerment
[A] Educational barriers-   The 2001 Census , particularly female literacy rates,  increased by 14.8 % in 2001 as compared to 11.7 % in 1991. The gap between male (75. 8 %) and female (54.1%) literacy rates is 22 %. In 2001, illiterates numbered close to 296 million of which 190 million were women. 34.6% of the world’s non-literate population resided in India in 2003-04.
In 2001, the gender gap in the literacy rate for SC was 24 % (male and female were 66% and 41.9% respectively) and for 12 % for STs (male and female literacy rates were 59.2 % and 47.1 % respectively). In BA courses, there are 3.39 % Schedule caste, 1.38% Schedule tribe, and 40 % non-dalit women.
Ø  At the levels of Graduation and above Muslim women are 48 % worse-off compared to Muslim men and 33% worse-off than Non-Muslim Women.
Ø  In science courses , 2.8 % were dalit women, 0.58% were Schedule tribe, 34 % were non-dalit women.
Ø  In post-graduate and doctoral levels, there were  38% (MA) and 34% (MSc) for non-dalit women, the percentages for dalit women are 3.8% and 2.9% and 1.3% and 0.48% respectively.
Ø  In professional fields like medicine , there are 2.9 % dalit women and 1.1% ST women compared to 34% non-dalit women. In BEd courses, the figure for dalit women is 4.4 % and ST women 1.4 % and non-dalit women is 40 %.

According NSSO , 61st round data, out of 124680million population,16203 million was ST(12.99%),20284million was SC(16.26%),46348million was OBC (37.17%),and 41759 was higher class (33.49% ) respectively in 2004-05.Particularly,in 2004-05,the classification of dalits in urban area were 29.78% are illiterate,34.05% are primary lebel,25.83% are secondary level,4.91% are higher secondary level and 5.43% are graduates and diploma engineers respectively. On the other hand, in rural area, 47.9% dalits are illiterate, 33.29% are primary level, 15.26% are secondary level, 2.1% are higher secondary level and 1.45% are graduates and engineers respectively. Therefore, low status of education is the first and foremost barrier of empowerment of dalit women.
The low educational status of SC and ST produced low human development indices and high human poverty indices. In 2000,the human development indices of SC and ST were 0.303 and 0.27 which marginally stepped up to 0.328 and 0.27 respectively in 2004-05.On the other hand, the human poverty indices of SC and ST were 41.47 and 47.79 in 2000 which increased to 46.88 and 54.56 in 2004-05 respectively.
[B] Gender Budgeting

Gender Budgeting is defined as the application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary  process. It encompasses incorporating a gender perspective at all levels and stages of the budgetary process and paves the way for translating gender commitments to budgetary commitments and carrying out an assessment of the budget to establish its gender differential impact.
In other words Gender Budgeting looks at Government budget from a gender perspective to assess how it addresses the needs of women not only in traditional areas like health, education etc but also in so called ‘gender neutral’ sectors like Transport , Power, Telecommunications,  Defence etc. It does not seek to create a separate budget but seeks to put in place affirmative action for meeting women’s specific needs, thus bringing into effect gender responsive Budgeting.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in 2004-05 adopted the mission statement of ‘Budgeting for Gender Equity’. A strategic framework of activities to implement “Budgeting for Gender Equity” disseminated to all Departments identifies areas for gender mainstreaming including quantification of allocation of resources for women in Union/ State/ Local Budgets, gender audit of polices of Governments, impact assessment of various schemes,
analyzing programmes and strategies, institutionalizing generation and collection of gender disaggregated data, consultations and capacity building etc. The MWCD has requested Ministries to set up Gender Budgeting Cells to undertake review of the public expenditure and policy, guide and undertake collection of gender disaggregated data, conduct gender based impact analysis, beneficiary needs assessment and beneficiary incidence analysis. As a result of these efforts 43 Ministries/ Departments have set up Gender Budget Cells as a nodal agency for
all gender responsive budgeting initiatives.
Mid Term Appraisal of the Tenth Plan notes that while “the Department of Education has confirmed a flow of funds of 42.37 per cent of the gross budgetary support to the WCP, the Ministry of Labour, which had reported flow of 33.5 per cent of its budget to the WCP in the Ninth Plan, has reported flow of funds of only 5 per cent of its budget during first three years of Tenth Plan.” The essential earmarking of 30% funds for women under the WCP for all Ministries at the Centre and the States is, at the very least, a good exercise as it forces the policy makers to start thinking on the lines of gendered-impact of policies. This commitment of resources is both vital and necessary. In 2005-06 this exercise covered 10 Departments and the total magnitude of Gender Budget (i.e., women specific allocations) was recorded at 2.8% of total Union Government expenditure. In 2006-07, 24 Departments of the Union Government were included under this exercise and the magnitude of Gender Budget went up to 5.1% of total budget estimates.

The following paragraphs indicate the various possibilities and potential of engendering some important national polices.
[i] The fiscal and monetary policies will need to be analyzed from a gender perspective as both have tremendous potential to have malefic or benign influence on the lives of women. Indirect taxation impinges heavily on women as the tax incidence, by and large, affects important items of sustenance which are generally highly price inelastic and even a small price rise in such items will have a negative impact on women; again the subsidy needs a re-look to ensure that withdrawal of subsidies do not adversely impinge on women.
[ii]Monetary policy has to be viewed from a gender angle, especially in the case of credit and loan facilities and easy access of women to financial instruments and attractive saving options.
[iii]Agricultural policies are of prime importance in gender budgeting exercises as there is a growing feminization of agriculture in recent years with out migration of men moving to urban areas in search of work. It is estimated that 75% of all female workers and 85% of all rural female workers are in agriculture. Women constitute 40% of the agriculture force and this percentage is rising. The number of women headed households in the agricultural sector is also increasing. The prosperity of agriculture therefore will largely depend on how effectively these women are empowered. Enhancing women’s’ rights to land, providing infrastructure support to women farmers and advancing legal support on existing laws are some of the policy interventions needed.
[iv]Policies for the Non farm sector and information is another highly important area that has to seriously reviewed keeping in view the gender perspective.
[v]Poverty alleviation programs should essentially focus on women as they are economically more disadvantaged than men and chronically poor.
[vi]The existing public distribution system has failed to deliver the required food grains to the vulnerable groups on time in the requisite quality and quantity.
[vii] Public policy with respect to migration is another area for consideration.
[ix]The possibilities of gender differentials for social security insurance schemes is another area that need to be examined, as there is an urgent need for low cost and gender friendly insurance systems that cater to the specific life cycle needs of women.
[x] Environmental concerns also warrant gender mainstreaming.
[xi] Disaster management policy should become gender sensitive as experiences have shown that women are most affected by disasters whether manmade or natural.
[xii] Media policy needs to be gender proactive.
[xiii]Research and Development should also be geared with a view to identify technological needs of women and develop and adapt technology especially to reduce the drudgery of women, facilitating her health and also income generating activities.
Gender Budgeting exercises more meaningful and effective, if the following approach can be followed by the Cells for extending gender outcomes.
[a]Assessing budget allocations and proposing for additional allocations for gender related schemes / components ;
[b]Analyzing and reviewing policy, strategies, programmes and schemes from the perspective of women as also improving the status of women, identifying constraints and taking into view their needs and requirements
[c]Identify constraints in flow of funds to women through expenditure tracking studies
[d]institutionalize generation, collection and compilation of gender disaggregated data through various mechanisms right form the grass root level and ensure that this should be an inbuilt part of the programme/ scheme.
[e]Identify data gaps and design the future steps for building gender disaggregated data
[f]Monitoring of spending and service delivery
[g]Assessing the extent to which women are benefiting under the schemes and programs of the Ministry
[h]Assessing beneficiary incidence
[i]Identification of areas where existing schemes can be further engendered and Initiating new initiatives, innovative ideas and schemes for gender benefit. In addition to the above, which will primarily be the responsibility of the individual sectoral Ministries/ Departments, the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry should enable assessment of national level gender outcome assessment through:
[j]Spatial mapping of gender gaps and resource gaps by Planning Commission
[k]Gender audit of public expenditure, programmes and policies
[l] There is a need to collect gender disaggregated data at national, state and district levels. Standardisation of data is also necessary to facilitate comparison not only at national but also international levels. The data should flow on a regular basis and should be compiled, collected and analysed periodically.

[C] Occupational barrier
       Both the SC,ST including women are heavily engaged in the cultivation, agricultural labour , household work and industries because of educational backwardness and poverty. Of them, the women marry early and engage themselves in household and cultivation work including other labour activities. The girls who are educated up to HS/BA, are not quite acquinted with entrepreneurship, service or political/professional positions so as to empower themselves to higher levels. Besides, gender deprivation, social oppression and low skill forced them to do habitual and traditional works. The Table- 1, classify the occupational distributional patterns of SC and ST during 1971 and 1991 census respectively where the readers can verify the attainment of human development in case of occupation . In Table-2, the sector-wise occupation of SC and ST confirm that their roles in industry especially medium and big industries are bare minimum. The secondary sector occupation has increased only one percent from 1971 to 1991 which showed that dalits are not transformed into more entrepreneurial activities. 

[E] Barriers of commitment for empowerment
   Accomplishing ‘inclusive growth’ is also envisaged through the economic empowerment of
SCs who are living in economic backwardness. Available data suggest that 36.8 per cent rural SCs and 39.9 per cent urban SCs lived below the poverty line (in 2004–05) in contrast to the 16.1 per cent rural non-SC/ST and 16 per cent urban non-SC/ST population. Various employment-cum-income generating schemes are being implemented with a view to improving their economic conditions and for making them economically self-reliant. The schemes are: The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSCFDC),it needs to focus their activities mainly towards financing Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs), Self- Help Groups (SHGs), and the Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY), State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) , the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC), State Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs),etc.

Commitment for Social Empowerment in 11th plan
Establishing requisite number of primary schools with proper school buildings, hostels, and water and toilet facilities (particularly for girls’ schools).
• To set up residential high schools for ST boys and girls at suitable places.
• Timely distribution of fellowships, scholarships, textbooks, uniforms, and school bags to students.
• Evaluation of the ICDS/anganwadi schemes for tribal areas and removing their shortcomings.
• Emphasis on adult education to be paid adequate attention.
• Ensuring affordable and accountable primary healthcare facilities to STs and bridging the gap in rural healthcare services through a cadre of ASHAs.
• Ensuring that the PESA Act functions as instrument of self-governance, preparing and implementing schemes in Scheduled Areas.
• Efforts to conserve the eco-system along with stress on economic programmes for PTGs. Formulation and execution of a national plan of action for tribals. Provision of drinking water supply to the uncovered tribal areas.
• Construction of rainwater harvesting structures: Electrification and telecom coverage in tribal villages.  Setting up of the National Institute of Tribal Affairs (NITA).
• Effective operationalization of the provisions of the Fifth Schedule needs to be done urgently. The Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) to be proactive while functioning as an advisory body to the state government in matters relating to STs.
  For Economic Empowerment
• Efforts to revitalize and expand the agriculture sector: To open training centres to impart skill development training to tribals in diverse occupations.
• Ensuring better coordination at higher levels and efficient delivery at the field level by lending agencies, such as NSTFDC and TRIFED.
• Scheme for quality improvement, higher productivity, and regeneration of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) species. Recruitment of ST women in posts of forest guards, foresters, and forest rangers by lowering educational qualifications.
• Infrastructure development in the Fifth and Sixth Scheduled Areas through utilization of grants available under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution.
  For Social Justice
• Steps to prevent exploitation through the effective implementation of SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989.
• Amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894; Forest Act, 1927; Forest Conservation Act, 1980; Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; and the National Mineral Policy, 1993. Displacement and rehabilitation of tribals also emphasized.
Plugging of loopholes in implementing laws for preventing alienation of tribal land: Effective follow-up actions of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007.
All these commitments are not sufficient for sustainable development of dalit women to empower them socially and economically in the changing society.


 Table-1
Occupational Distribution  of Labour Force (%)

Source-Tilak, Bharti, 2007

Table-2, Sector wise occupation of SC and ST.(%)

Source-Tilak, Bharti,2007

[D] Barrier of Poverty
At the all-India level the poverty ratio for the rural areas was 37.3 percent in 1993-94 and it
declined to 27.1 percent by 1999-2000. The corresponding ratios for the urban households
were 32.4 percent and 23.65 percent respectively. The poverty ratios for SCs and STs were
significantly higher both in 1993-94 and 1999-2000.
It may be observed that as against 27 percent of all population living below the poverty line in the rural areas in 1999-2000, 36 percent of SC population and 46 percent of ST population lived below the poverty line. There was a decline in the poverty ratio of 27% for all population, 25% for SCs and 12% for STs as compared to 1993-94. This implies that the poverty ratio declined faster for all population than for SCs and STs, though between the SCs and STs, the decline has been more rapid. The decline is larger in rural areas than in the urban both in cases of poverty lines and in income gap ratios.
So, elimination of poverty for the dalit especially women should be the important goal for achieving higher empowerment.
Table-3, Income Gap of SC and ST
 Source-Planning commission
Table-4; Population below the poverty line
[E] Barriers of Finance, Investment and Property rights
 Dalits are deprived in budget allocation too. The total budget allocation under Plan outlay for the year 2008-09 was Rs 243385.5 cr and under SC Sub Plan the Government of India was liable to allocate Rs 40090.90 cr. Exclusively for dalits (16.7% of the total plan budget) but it has allocated just Rs.11751.07 cr.(29% of the total due under the SCSP) for the welfare of SCs, which means again SCs have been deprived by Rs.29801.89Cr.This exposes the stark untouchability that is being practiced by the finance ministry and in the whole union budget. And the process is going on.
Table-5,History of exclusion in the budget.


Source-GOI
The figures of allocation in Table-5, are a mute witness to the history of denial of exclusion. It is not only for above three years, this trend was observed for the last 27 years since the inception of SCSP in 1979-80.The amounts to willful negligence and those responsible are liable  to be punished for this crime.

Dalit women have no right to access of land holding for cultivation or homestead land for building houses. Even they have no rights to hold other property as well by which they can face a huge adverse impact barriers of property rights.
Regarding land, the following recommendations were agreed on:
1. Land earmarked for dalits by governments should be restored and registered in the name of dalit women or jointly in that of dalit men and women.
2. Surplus land should be earmarked for dalits in proportion to their populations in each country.
3. Governments should suitably amend laws in accordance with the optimum land ownership level for the livelihood of an average family, implement land reform acts and constitute and empower independent monitoring mechanisms with equal representation of dalit women and men to ensure implementation of such legislation on a time-bound basis, so that actual enjoyment of the land is the basis for ascertaining success of land rights reform programmes.
4. Governments should issue legal title to land possessed and enjoyed by dalit women and men, with legal title issued to the name of dalit women or jointly in that of dalit men and women.
5. Governments should allocate sufficient budgets for purchase of land to be distributed to dalit women.
6. Appropriate policies should be designed to enhance the effectiveness of agricultural practices, to build and strengthen capacities within dalit communities and to provide market support.
7. Governments should enact appropriate legislation to prevent displacement of dalits and alienation of their land.

Dalit women have been confronting with vocational training or any special training for entrepren eurship to run a business or manufacturing or management of a service unit which were forced them to be low empowerment .As a whole their status on education is not favourable for achieving high empowerment. Therefore, the access of bank finances for introducing a producing unit is rarely found in favour of them.

[F] Other barriers

Dalit women have been facing with innumerable barriers of empowerment or to live with equal status against dalit men or simply other men. Of them, the child marriage is the root cause of anti-empowerment system of dalit girls. Unless it is stopped, there will be no sign of development of dalit women. Secondly, the forced Debdasi System in India and abroad is the key element of prostitution under the umbrella of God/Goddess which was introduced by the priests who were also the representatives of the monarchy. Thirdly, the violence against the dalit women is historical and are classified into domestic and external where the domestic violence against the dalit women came from the family itself. Lastly, the failure to prosecute rape cases of dalit women were not completely controlled by the Government.
Until and unless those barriers are omitted , the slow pace of empowerment of dalit women would not be eliminated.

Conclusion

Indian Planning Commission has a long way to go to empower dalit women which require not only to increase plan outlay, but also requires structural transformation to step HDI and GEM of dalit women abolishing all sorts of deprivation, social exploitation and exclusion from the main stream of development pattern of the Indian economy. India government should frame a long term sustainable planning which must introduce the evolutionary process of development of dalits including gender un-biased. To pave the way of success, all social, political and economic institutions must involve in this social change co-operating with each other.



References


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Sen, Amartya. 2000. Social Exclusion: Concept, Application, and Scrutiny. Social Development Papers No.1, Office of Economic and Social Development. Manila: Asian Development Bank.

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