India Discrimination Report | 8 Things You Need To Know

India Discrimination Report | 8 Things You Need To Know

Discrimination in the labour market occurs when people with similar abilities are treated differently due to their identity or social backgrounds. So far, very few attempts have been made in India to quantify the extent of discrimination and its impact on the lives of marginalised communities.

Oxfam India conducted an extensive analysis of government data from 2004 to 2020 to better understand inequality and discrimination in access to jobs, income, health, and agricultural credits across the country.

Read the India Discrimination Report here.

The analysis was done through a statistical method called ‘decomposition’ to understand differential outcomes in employment, wages, health, and access to agricultural credit among various social groups. This has helped us to quantify discrimination faced by marginalised communities from 2004-05 to 2019-20.

8 things that the India Discrimination Report Says:

  1. Despite the same educational qualification and work experience as men, women in India, will be discriminated in the labour market due to societal and employers’ prejudices. The report finds that discrimination causes 100 percent of employment inequality faced by women in rural areas in the labour market and 98 percent in urban areas.
  2. The findings of the Oxfam India indicate discrimination as a driving factor behind low Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in the country. As per the Union Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), FLFPR in India was only 25.1 percent in 2020-21 for urban and rural women.
  3. In 2019-20, 60 percent of all males aged 15 years and more had regular salaried and self-employed jobs as opposed 19 percent of all similarly aged females who also had regular and self-employment.  There is also a significant gap in the earnings between men and women in the case of regular and self-employment in urban areas. The average earning is INR 15,996 for men and merely INR 6,626 for women in urban areas in self-employment. The men’s average earning is nearly 2.5 times that of the earnings of women.
  4. Apart from women, historically oppressed communities such as Dalits and Adivasis along with religious minorities such as Muslims also continue to face discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credits. The mean income for Scheduled Castes (SCs)/Dalits or Scheduled Tribes (STs)/Adivasis who have regular employment in urban areas is INR 15,312 as against INR 20,346 for persons belonging to the General Category. This means the general category is earning 33 percent more than SCs or STs as per the report. The average earning of self-employed workers is INR 15,878 for non-SCs or STs and INR 10,533 for SCs or STs.
  5. The rural SC and ST communities are facing increase in discrimination in casual employment, the report shows. The data shows that the unequal income among urban SC and ST casual wage work is because of 79 percent discrimination in 2019-20. Self-employed non-SC/ST workers earn a third more than their SCs or STs counterparts. Caste also acts as a major barrier while accessing credit for agriculture despite many agricultural labourers being from SC or ST communities. STs and SCs receive less than a quarter of the credit shares that Forward Castes (FCs) receive, the report shows.
  6. Muslims continue to face multidimensional challenges in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment as compared to non-Muslims. In rural areas, the sharpest increase of 17 percent in unemployment was for Muslims as compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic making rural Muslim unemployment rate 31.4 percent. The lower employment for urban Muslims attributes 68.3 percent to discrimination in 2019-20. The report shows that the discrimination faced by Muslims in 2004-05 was 59.3 percent, indicating an increase in discrimination by 9 percent over the last 16 years.
  7. Regular-salaried non-Muslims in urban areas earn INR 20,346 on average which is 1.5 times higher than Muslims who earn INR 13,672. This means non-Muslims are earning 49 percent more than Muslims in regular employment, the report noted. Self-employed non-Muslims earn INR 15,878 on average while self-employed Muslims earn INR 11,421 despite the overrepresentation of Muslims in urban self-employment. This means non-Muslims are earning a third more than Muslims in self-employment.

What the Report recommends

Oxfam India’s ‘India Discrimination Report 2022’ shows the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives and livelihoods of marginalised communities and calls for immediate relief measures for equal and inclusive pandemic recovery.  Oxfam India calls on the Government of India to actively enforce effective measures for the protection and right to equal wages and work for all women. The Government of India should also incentivise the participation of women in the workforce including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations and easy return-to-work options after maternity.

Other suggestions include strengthening civil society’s engagement to ensure a more equitable distribution of household work and childcare duties between women and men and facilitating higher participation of women in the labour market. The government should focus on implementing “living wages” as opposed to minimum wages, particularly for all informal workers and formalising contractual, temporary and casual labour as much as possible.

Major initiatives to address endowment deficits for religious minorities particularly Muslims should be effectively implemented and caste-based representativeness and affirmative action for SC/ST should continue with focused and accurate welfare targeting. It is crucial to improve the quality of internal facilities in public hospitals and facilitate accessibility to hospitalisation for socially marginalised groups through incentives; extending insurance coverage and reservation of beds in private hospitals.

📢Oxfam India is now on Telegram. Click here to join our Telegram channel and stay tuned to the latest updates and insights on social and development issues. 

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