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Inequality in Contemporary India: Does Caste Still Matter?

Susmita Sengupta and Sanat Kumar Guchhait
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Susmita Sengupta: Rabindra Mahavidyalaya, Champadanga, Hooghly, West Bengal
Sanat Kumar Guchhait: Department of Geography, The University of Burdwan, West Bengal

Journal of Developing Societies, 2021, vol. 37, issue 1, 57-82

Abstract: Are the issues of socioeconomic inequalities related to specific caste biases in Contemporary India? Why are some social groups in the socioeconomic ladder lagging compared to others? How much have the poor people living in rural areas in India achieved their esteemed goals in the present economic arena of development? Is it the limited educational attainment or lack of physical and social capital of the poor households that begets inter-group economic inequality? Or is it a social identity that impedes the well-being of a certain social group? In search of answering these questions, this article explores the role of castes in explaining socioeconomic inequalities in the rural settings of contemporary India. The limited access to basic amenities and the poor educational attainment of the lower castes and the dominance of the upper castes in these regards show the persistence of social group inequalities. Four remote villages of Purulia district, one of the most backward tribal districts of West Bengal were systematically selected for scrutiny to explore socioeconomic inequality within the caste structure. Two are tribal villages with low inequality and the other two are multi-caste-oriented villages with high inequality.

Keywords: Inequality; Castes; GINI; Decile Gap; Generalized Entropy; Kernel density; Polarization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/0169796X21998387

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