. . . . . . "Dalit Solidarity News" is an information project run by the International Dalit Solidarity Network. News stories are extracts from online newsservices. Link to the full story is found at the end of each blog. Visit the International Dalit Solidarity Network at www.idsn.org


























 
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Formed in 2000, the IDSN is a network of international organisations, national solidarity networks and affected country groups, campaigning against caste-based discrimination throughout the world, from the dalits of South Asia to the Osu of Nigeria and the Burakumin of Japan. Visit our website International Dalit Solidarity Network for more information. SUBMIT DALIT NEWS HERE



























DALIT SOLIDARITY NEWS
 
Thursday, October 07, 2004  
Quotas in pvt sector: PM says the time has come, rules out a law

Indian Express
October 07, 2004

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on his first visit to the country’s commercial capital after assuming office, sounded out the private sector on job reservations.At first, he said it was ‘‘national policy’’ and an ‘‘idea whose time has come’’. But later, while addressing an audience of industrialists, he toned this down, saying there were no plans to bring a legislation to enforce job quotas in the corporate sector.Singh said he would prefer ‘‘voluntary action’’ to tackle the problem of providing equitable opportunities for weaker sections of society.

‘‘The private sector should try to employ persons from weaker sections of society. Nobody can avoid it as it is going to be a national policy,’’ Singh said at a press conference in the morning, one of three programmes held during his one-day campaign tour ahead of the assembly elections.
When told that the Maharashtra Government has already introduced a bill to enforce job quotas in the private sector, Singh said, ‘‘If any government is going beyond it, then it is their right.’’

The PM added that private players would be given an opportunity to voice their concerns on the issue to a group of ministers led by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
Stressing the point again before an audience of traders and businessmen in the second half of the day, the Prime Minister said industry should examine ways of providing apprenticeship, training and retraining facilities so that youth from the weaker sections are not left out.
Although it was ‘‘a reality’’ that candidates from weaker sections may not be ‘‘suitable’’ in some cases, it needed to be understood ‘‘these sections had been disadvantaged for centuries on every front,’’ Singh told the elite gathering. However, he assured corporate barons that reservations in the private sector would not come about by way of legislation.

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1:03 PM

Tuesday, October 05, 2004  
Untouchables in new battle for jobs
India's lowest class raises its sights from the gutter
Randeep Ramesh
October 3, 2004 The Observer

'I couldn't get the bank job I wanted. When my father died I took his job as a sweeper'
Flanked by green cricket fields where he once played and a university from which he graduated, Arvind Vaghela tries not to notice the stream of students walking past. 'I used to be like them, attending lectures and going out on the fields. But now I just hide my face,' he said.
The reason for his shame is the broom in his hand. Despite a masters degree in economics from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, the best job Vaghela, 24, could get was one done by generations of his family: roadsweeper.

'I wanted to work in sales for a bank, but you needed to have your own vehicle. I come from a poor family, so how could I afford that? When my father died I was offered his job and I took it,' he said. As a Dalit, or untouchable, Vaghela's story is familiar in this sprawling west Indian city. Nearly 100 of its council sanitation workers have degrees in subjects ranging from computing to law, but cannot get better jobs because they are Dalits.

Their experience is part of an increasingly heated debate in India, where the government has announced that it will consider extending public-sector job quotas for people from the lowest castes to the private sector.

Industrialists, who insist private-sector jobs and promotions are earned on merit, say that this will make businesses inefficient and uncompetitive.
Rahul Bajaj, who chairs a large motorcycle manufacturer, wrote in the Times of India that public-sector job quotas had reduced the 'effectiveness of government' because decisions were not made on the basis of ability.

This argument leaves Ahmedabad's roadsweeping graduates unimpressed. Most say that they have had to face discrimination or exploitation in the booming private sector.
'I got a job with a firm of accountants and then had to present my qualifications. On one school certificate it mentioned my caste.
'The next day I was told there had been a mistake - I was not required any more,' said Dalit sweeper Prakash Chauhan, 32, who has a a degree in commerce.

[...]
In rural India Dalits have been murdered for proposing to marry somebody further up the social ladder, barred from temples, forced into bonded labour and made to carry human waste from the homes of high-caste Hindus.
In the cities, where it is easier to change one's name and slip into the crowd, Dalits say economic exclusion is now the biggest issue.

The ingrained unfairness of the caste system has brought pressure for reform on human rights grounds against Western firms doing business in India. Unions have written to 300 companies in Europe which outsource work to India to check that their subcontractors do not discriminate on the basis of caste.

'There are many parallels with the situation in South Africa in the Sixties, when foreign companies needed to be persuaded to address the discrimination in the system of apartheid,' said David Haslam, the London-based chair of the Dalit Solidarity Network.

Chandra Bhan Prasad, a Dalit writer who has proposed many new affirmative action programmes in India, says businesses should look for inspiration to the United States, where firms carry out diversity audits and give contracts to firms from minority groups.
'About a fifth of General Motors managers are African American, Hispanic or Native American. GM actually goes out of its way to recruit from these communities. The company also places $2 billion of business into the minority communities. No Indian business has done the same.'

These measures helped to create a black middle class, he says, making African Americans part of mainstream life in the US. By contrast, Prasad says, if Oprah Winfrey had been born in India she would have remained chained to poverty rather than become one of the world's richest women.
'Here family connections and caste matter more than ability. It is still the case of who you know, not what you can do.

'In the US you have black billionaires, industrialists, black film stars, black professors. In India university professorships are closed to us. We do not have one Dalit millionaire. There is not one Dalit newspaper editor, nor a Dalit newscaster.'

Academics caution, however, that there is one big difference between race and Indian caste. 'No one can tell from your appearance that you are a Dalit. The same cannot be said for African Americans,' says Shyam Babu, a research fellow at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute, a think-tank in New Delhi.
'It is more subtle. Once you know someone's name and where they are from, most Indians can identify your caste. The basic bigotry is the same: you assume an entire ethnic group is incompetent.'

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7:23 AM

Monday, October 04, 2004  
Court notice for demolition of dry latrines

The Hindu
4 October 2004

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh Government for a direction to demolish dry latrines still being used. This was after an application was filed about the prevalence of manual scavenging inside a court complex.

The apex court had issued notice to the Centre, States and Union Territories, in January, on a petition seeking action for eradicating "manual scavenging" in which over 12 lakh persons are engaged across the country, and implement a scheme for rehabilitating them.

The court had acted on a petition filed by the convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, (SKA) Bejawada Wilson, and the chairperson, S.R. Sankaran, and 13 other organisations and individuals, seeking a declaration that manual scavenging and the operation of dry latrines in the country was violative of the fundamental rights of Article 14 (equality before law) Article 17 (abolition of untouchability) and Article 23 (right against exploitation).

When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, it was submitted to the Court that the States had filed their responses to the petition and further directions were required. A Bench comprising Justice S.N. Variava and Justice H.K. Sema adjourned the hearing by 10 weeks.
The petitioner, filed an application saying that two dry latrines were being used in the court complex of the Junior Civil Judge, Yellareddy in Nizamabad district, and the court had employed a part-time manual scavenger, violating the provisions of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2004/10/04/stories/2004100403001200.htm

7:52 AM

 
Court notice for demolition of dry latrines

The Hindu
4 October 2004

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh Government for a direction to demolish dry latrines still being used. This was after an application was filed about the prevalence of manual scavenging inside a court complex.

The apex court had issued notice to the Centre, States and Union Territories, in January, on a petition seeking action for eradicating "manual scavenging" in which over 12 lakh persons are engaged across the country, and implement a scheme for rehabilitating them.

The court had acted on a petition filed by the convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, (SKA) Bejawada Wilson, and the chairperson, S.R. Sankaran, and 13 other organisations and individuals, seeking a declaration that manual scavenging and the operation of dry latrines in the country was violative of the fundamental rights of Article 14 (equality before law) Article 17 (abolition of untouchability) and Article 23 (right against exploitation).

[...]
The petitioner, filed an application saying that two dry latrines were being used in the court complex of the Junior Civil Judge, Yellareddy in Nizamabad district, and the court had employed a part-time manual scavenger, violating the provisions of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.

Read the full story

7:48 AM

 
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