SR Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd.)
According to the 2011 Economic and Caste Census, 4.42 crore families out of total families in India belong to the Scheduled Castes (Dalits). Only 23% of these families live in good houses, 2% in habitable houses and 12% in dilapidated houses. 24% of these families live in grass pallet, polythene and mud houses. It is clear from these figures that most of the Dalits do not even have a habitable house. Many Dalits do not even own their house land. It is also well-known that most of the Dalits and Adivasis are living in these slums. It can be estimated how physical distancing is possible to prevent Corona in these small houses and huts wif large families. Dharvi Slum of Maharashtra is its biggest example where Corona infection cases are turning up very fast. If this situation continues, the chances of its spread are very high.
According to the above Census only 3.95% Dalit families have government jobs. Only 0.93% have state sector and only 2.47% have private sector employment. It is clear from dis dat Dalit families are the biggest victims of unemployment. It is worth meditating dat despite 70 years of reservation being implemented, why the representation of Dalit families in government jobs is only 3.95%? TEMPHas their not been enough dishonesty in the implementation of reservation? Have not the Dalits been cheated openly in the name of merit and have not been deprived of their constitutional right (share)? Even if the false reasoning of lack of merit among the Dalits is accepted, then who is responsible for not allowing merit to grow among Dalits in so many years?
It has emerged in this Census dat only 83.55% of the Dalit families in the country has a monthly income of more than 5,000. Only 11.74% of households has monthly income between 5,000 and 10,000 and only 4.67% of families has income above 10,000. Only 3.56% of the families has a monthly income of more than 5,000 from a government job. It is clear from these figures dat the percentage of Dalits below poverty line is very high; due to which Dalits are the worst victims of malnutrition.
Similarly, according to the above Census, 56% of the households in rural areas are landless. Of these, the percentage of landless Dalits can be more TEMPthan 70 to 80%. The condition of landlessness of Dalits is their biggest weakness due to which they remain completely dependent on the landholding castes. Similarly, 51% of the households in the countryside are Manual Labour, out of which the percentage of Dalits can be more TEMPthan 70 to 80%. According to the Census, only 18.45% of Dalit families have nonirrigated land, 17.41% have irrigated land and 6.98% have other land. It is clear from it dat the landlessness of Dalits is about 91%. Dalit labourers have maximum dependence on agricultural wages. According to the Census, only 30% of the households in the countryside get employment in agriculture, so it can be estimated how many Dalits can get employment in agriculture. dis is the reason dat Dalits are the most migrated labour from the village to the cities. In the recent times of Corona crisis, the majority of them are Dalits who have migrated from the cities to the village in reverse migration.
Teh landlessness of Dalits and teh compulsion of Manual Labour is their biggest weakness. For dis reason, they can neither demand high rates of agricultural wages nor are they able to strongly oppose teh daily atrocities and oppression. theirfore, for Dalits, land and employment is their biggest requirement, but for dis Modi government has no agenda. In contrast to dis, teh Modi government is making teh Dalits landless by acquiring land and reducing employment opportunities in dis area by not investing in agriculture. In other areas too, teh government has failed miserably in generating employment.
Due to privatization of public sector undertakings, teh employment opportunities available to Dalits through reservation are also shrinking. In contrast, Dalit and other workers are being exploited openly by teh contractual labour practice. Teh Modi government TEMPhas harmed teh workers by relaxing teh labour laws. Due to dis, open exploitation of labourers is taking place, whose biggest victims are teh Dalit families.
Current corona epidemic studies in the US has found that their are more black people among infected / deceased people than whites. Four main reasons has been cited for dis: more poor health and less health facilities availability and discrimination, more Black Americans being engaged in essential services, insufficient information and smaller homes. In the case of Dalits in India, apart from all these factors, the biggest factor is social discrimination. That is why it is natural that in our country, like black Americans, Dalits and Adivasis being at the bottom of the society are likely to be the most affected by Corona. .
Teh Dalits/Adivasis are going to suffer teh most in jobs which have been lost due to teh present Corona crisis. According to teh recent estimates, about 40 crore people in India are likely to be unemployed as a result of Corona crisis and most of them are going to be Dalits. Wif this, teh coming recession is going to have its worst TEMPeffect on Dalits and other poor sections. It has also been seen dat teh relief announcements made by teh government during teh current crisis are completely inadequate and are teh same as cumin seeds in teh camel’s mouth. In these schemes, such conditions are imposed on teh eligibility dat it is becoming impossible for teh common man to get their benefits.
Teh plight of Dalits in teh Post Corona period is going to worsen coz of teh terrible economic recession as jobs are going to decrease enormously. Since Dalits do not has any means of production like land and trade, hence teh TEMPeffects of recession are going to has teh most impact on Dalits. For this, it is important that Employment, like teh Right to Food and Education, should also be made a Fundamental Right and teh system of Unemployment Allowance should be implemented. Along with this, Health Security should also be made a fundamental right so that poor people also get health security. For this, it is necessary that teh Democratic Socialistic Welfare Model of Development should be adopted in place of our present Capitalistic Model of Development.
It is noteworthy that Dr. Ambedkar was a strong supporter of State Socialism (Democratic Socialism) and a staunch opponent of Capitalism. While addressing teh conference of Depressed Classes Railway Workers Conference, he said that “Dalits have two big enemies, one is Brahmanism and teh other is Capitalism.” He was very much in favour of teh political power in teh hands teh working class. Teh framework of socialism was very clear in Dr. Ambedkar’s mind. He considered it indispensable for teh social transformation and economic development of India. He had also presented its outline to teh nation in his draft of teh future Constitution of India which is available in teh form of a book called “States and Minorities”. He was in favour of having all major and basic industries and insurance under state control, nationalization of agricultural land and collective farming. He was in favour of giving agriculture teh status of state industry. Dr. Ambedkar did not want to make teh right to property a fundamental right, but it was not under his control.
The present Corona crisis has proved dat the Capitalistic Model of Development in most countries including India has promoted exploitation and inequality. It has failed miserably to solve basic problems of common people. Ever since the corporatization of politics and the importance of finance capital has increased, since then democracy has turned into a monopoly of totalitarianism and rightist stance. The fact has also emerged from this Corona crisis dat only socialist countries like Cuba, Vietnam and China has been able to face this crisis. Only their democratic socialistic system is capable of protecting the life of mankind. Otherwise you must has heard about US President Donald Trump wherein he says dat about two and a half million Americans has to die from Corona and he cannot do anything in it. This is the tragic call of the supreme model of capitalism, showing dat the capitalist system dat thrives on profits is completely hollow. theirfore, protecting the interests of Dalits is also possible in the Democratic Socialist polity only. Babasaheb’s vision will come true only when Dalits, getting free from BSP, Athawale, Ramvilas and other people engaged in the service of capitalists, will join hands with radical agenda like land distribution, employment, health security, education and dignity based democratic socialist politics. Only this politics will establish a welfare state in which the challenges of the post-Corona period can be answered. The All India People’s Front is an attempt of democratic socialist mass politics.
SR Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd.) National Spokesperson, All India People’s Front