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   The Future 2001 - 2014
  1. Issues of Poverty & Exclusion

Landlessness & inequity
      In PGVS work area nearly 90 per cent of the poorest and excluded communities are Scheduled Caste communities. Of this 50 per cent are landless and the 40 per cent holds one acre or less cultivable land per family. On the other hand about 10 per cent upper caste farmers still own over 25 acres on an average. In a totally feudal society this unequal distribution of land [the primary source of livelihood] becomes the key issue of social positioning, exclusion and discrimination.

       The landless labourer families are mostly dalits, and the Musahar are the most deprived and poor among the dalits. These households have long been settled in hamlets at the edge of the revenue villages on lands owned by the upper caste land owners and work in their fields in near bonded conditions forced to work for very low wages as they are ‘permitted’ by the landlord to continue living on that land.

Migration & Forced Labour
       The landless and marginal cultivators depend on daily agriculture labour available for four months in a year where they get much less [women even lesser] than the government set minimum wages. During the remaining eight months people migrate in search of labour, many of them ending up in city construction sites, brick kilns and casual labour. Livelihood opportunities for these communities are only open through menial labour at low wages in unsecure conditions. Trafficking of women and children, especially from flood and drought hit areas is reportedly on the rise.

Untouchability & Marriage Bar
       The Dalit communities are still treated as untouchables. They are excluded from religious and social functions, preventing them from use of common public facilities like water and sanitation. They face discrimination in educational, social and economic opportunities. In schools the children are not allowed to sit with other children and ignored by teachers who usually come from higher castes. Ignorance of their rights, illiteracy and lack of vocational skills has kept them socially and economically excluded.

       Dalit communities in particular have been kept away from any decision making in local governance structures of the Panchayat Institutions. With recent policy trends of Reservation they are acquiring a toehold in this system. However, their participation is still tenuous and unsure. At a higher state and parliamentary levels they are treated as vote banks whose proxy-ballots were cast en-mass by whatever upper caste is locally dominant.

        Inter-caste marriage bar exists not only between excluded communities and other upper castes but also between sub-castes of Dalits, OBC and upper castes. Younger generation people mutually entering marriage alliances have been subjected to personal violence   and/or ostracised by both caste/communities involved.

Gender discrimination
       Discriminatory attitude and bias against women, and girl children, is practiced at every level of society going beyond caste and community barriers especially in the areas of women’s right to property, equal wages, education and governance.

Traditionally women have been kept away from any decision making in local governance structures of the Panchayat Institutions. Recent introduction selected seats reserved for women from SC communities is providing them the position but that does not mean that they have the capacity to independently manage the Panchayat position they have been elected to.

Essential Services
       Most employees of government departments in education, health and social security [even land revenue] belong to non-excluded communities and therefore hold a ‘traditional’ attitude of non-service and ignoring the needs of excluded communities. Their behaviour itself is often abusive and harsh.

       However, in recent times with increasingly stronger intervention of rights action CSOs these trends are changing through organised efforts of the concerned communities themselves. Yet there is a long way to go before excluded communities and women acquire the capacity to fulfil responsibilities that accrue from these rights. 

         2. EP Work Area & Constituents

 Demographic Summary of EP Work Area




























Note: Please see Annex-II Excel sheet for detailed District - Village disaggregated data.  

       According to 2001 census SC, ST and Muslim communities in these 17 districts comprise nearly 32 per cent [124,330 households] of the total population, the highest being SC 19.49 [50 per cent belong to the Musher] followed by Muslims 11.00 and ST 01.04 per cent. SC population is highest in Gaya and ST are settled in small pockets in Jamui. Of the total SC, ST and Muslim 80 per cent have no agriculture land [holding less than half acre] and about 50 per cent of this population have no deed for the land they live on and can be termed as landless-homeless [over 20,000 households]. Musahars stand lowest in social rung, and are economically and politically the most deprived. They do not even have homestead land as they are compelled to construct small hutments to live on the government land, or land owned by upper caste landlords.

Landless Agricultural Labour’s and Marginal Farmers
        PGVS has been working with landless agricultural labour’s and most marginal farmer and these and the legally for the dalit community. The Musahars and other weaker dalit are almost landless and live tenuous existence.

        They are living on the govt. land embankment of river’s/canals and private unutilised land by erecting small hutment. Musahar get wage employment in the agriculture field for 3-4 month. They work in the house of landlords without any proper wage. And the marginal farmers are not getting proper price for their produce nor can they cultivate more than one crop without proper irrigation systems.

        PGVS believes that without land and proper employment people are unable to have access to basic livelihood. Therefore they form the spearhead of the campaign for their right to land and livelihood for a life of dignity and equal opportunity.

        PGVS organises and encourages them to build or rebuild livelihood resources like traditional Aahar Paynes (Canals), wells, husbanding small livestock, take up group farming etc. through various organised community level units and group activities like Voluntary Work Camps [Shram Shivirs].

        Women have traditionally been the most oppressed and suppressed, even among the poor yet they show exceptional ability and urge to struggle out of their situation when provided the right encouragement, support and opportunity. And they have been in the forefront of EP organisation and campaigns. Gradually as the organisation grew so does the participation of women in the decision making structure within the organisation with equal participation.

        They too have the most neglected and misguided in the community mostly because of the existing socio-political and economical system. Led to frustration and hopelessness they often fall into organised and unorganised violence. Attracted by EP non-violent way to justice they become the mainstay of campaigns, shram shivirs and loc organisational non-violent peoples’ mass actions.


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