Documenting Social Exclusion

Social exclusion in India
Many people in India live without access to basic public goods like clean water, electricity or sanitation. (Photo: Henrik Rubner)

CENTRE FOR EQUITY STUDIES | Despite considerable economic growth in recent years, many of India’s citizens still struggle to get access to basic public goods. Our partner, the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), examines how state institutions fail to provide equal access to necessities like healthcare, sanitation and safe working conditions. Which groups are especially vulnerable to exclusion? How do different dimensions of exclusion reinforce each other? And what are possible interventions?

These are the leading questions of CES’ flagship publication, the Indian Exclusion Report. While root causes often lie within historically grown inequalities and discrimination, CES looks at the state as the main responsible actor to intervene and guarantee equal rights. The report points out where policies and institutions fail to deliver or how systemic tax evasion deprives the state of necessary resources. Moreover, it identifies especially vulnerable groups.

The cooperation between CES and RLS focused on particular sections within the India Exclusion Report. One focus lied on home based workers in slums, who manufacture goods which are later sold in shiny malls and retail shops. As their payment is meagre, often the whole family has to participate in the process. However, this does not guarantee any fair distribution of income among the family. Moreover, home based workers do not enjoy any form of occupational safety. Another group in focus are the so-called “manual scavengers”. Although the manual cleaning of latrines and sewers has been recently banned by the government, it is still reality for around one million people. Exclusively performed by Dalits, this exemplifies the continuous existence of “untouchability” in India. The project was completed in 2018.

Our Partner

The Centre for Equity Studies was founded in 2000 as an independent research organisation for issues social policies, the interface of social exclusion and government services and communal conflict. Based on their research, CES prepares policy interventions and conducts empowerment on the grassroots level to develop alternatives to existing laws and programmes. The India Exclusion Report by CES is one of the most acknowledged publication on the topic within India and abroad. 

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