Dalits have been considered for centuries as lesser human beings and subjected to caste based atrocities for various historical, social and economic reasons. Though the Constitution of India entails various rights and provisions for this vulnerable group, the caste based discrimination is still prevalent in our modern India, in forms like- manual scavenging, landless farm workers and peasants, and forced into various other menial labour such as washing clothes, collecting human faeces, physical and sexual violence relating to dalit women and young girls, the exploitation of dalits and discriminations in the employment sector in terms of wages and promotions. Thus the atrocities faced by the dalits are a day to day phenomenon.
The Division in the caste system is mainly vertical, even though horizontal divisions are also there in the same caste or amongst equivalent castes. These divisions are mostly watertight, preventing, not allowing, and prohibiting mobility, and often-times co-habitation, or any social interaction also. It prevents growth of brotherly feelings and fraternity amongst the people. It denies respect for others, human dignity, particularly to those who are below or lower in the hierarchy. Thus, it prevents development of love, liking and respect for work, particularly towards those works being done by other lower in the hierarchy. Caste is internal looking, and hence lacks a social outlook or any world vision. It therefore comes in the way growth of Nationalism and building up of Nation and State.
After independence, the State has addressed the issue through positive discrimination in education, government employment, elected representative bodies through reservations, budgetary support through Special Component Plan (SCP) approach, special programmes for health and education and priority to Dalits in all rural development, slum improvement and anti-poverty programmes. Despite numerous policy formulations by the Government in the last sixty years and provisions enshrined in the Constitution, the progress of Dalits is wide off the mark due to ineffective implementation of measures at the grassroots level. High levels of corruption and red-tapisam are the most prevalent factors behind it.
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