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Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims worst off, says Indian Exclusion Report

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As per 2016 Indian Exclusion Report (IXR) released by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES) in New Delhi on May 10, 2017, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue to be the worst-hit communities in terms of exclusion from access to public goods.

2016 Indian Exclusion Report reviews exclusion of highly vulnerable groups with respect to following four public goods:

  1. Agricultural land
  2. Digital access
  3. Pensions for the elderly
  4. Legal justice for undertrials

The report has observed that Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and persons with disabilities and age-related vulnerabilities are the groups which have consistently been most prone to exclusion from any developments and advancements.

Highlights of 2016 Indian Exclusion Report:

  • Pattern of Land Distribution: Large landowners belong to the upper castes, cultivators are from the middle castes, and agricultural workers are mostly Dalits and Adivasis.
  • Rate of landlessness: Dalits – 57.3%, Muslims – 52.6%, women-headed households – 56.8%
  • Displacement: 40% of all those displaced by development activity were Adivasis.
  • Land Holdings by Dalit Households: Only 2.08% of Dalit households own more than 2 hectares of land. 58% of land held by Dalit households does not have irrigation facility.
  • Land Reform Efforts: Measures decided for the benefit of Dalits, women and Muslims have Indian Exclusion Reportnot been properly implemented. In some cases they were forcefully evicted after allotment whereas in other cases they were not allowed to take possession.
  • Digital Exclusion: Despite of India ranking among the top 5 nations in terms of the total number of Internet users, almost 1.063 billion Indians were offline. Low internet penetration among deprived communities has been attributed to poverty and remote geographic location.
  • Digital India Programme: 1,00200 panchayats were to be covered under Phase-I of Digital India Programme by March 2014. However till April 2016, only 48,199 panchayats were covered, and only 6,727 panchayats got Internet access.