How share of jobs varies within so­cial groups

While SC/ST work­ers have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share in low-pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions, cer­tain sub-castes within the group are bet­ter off than the rest

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Roshan Kishore and Vi­j­dan Mo­ham­mad Ka­woosa let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ ▪

NEW DELHI: Last month, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment an­nounced 10% reser­va­tion in jobs and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions for eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions (EWS) among com­mu­ni­ties hith­erto not en­ti­tled to such ben­e­fits.

The move aims to ad­dress eco­nomic in­equal­ity be­cause, the logic went, the older sys­tem of reser­va­tion ad­dressed only so­cial in­equal­ity. The as­sump­tion be­hind the older sys­tem was that there was a com­plete cor­re­spon­dence be­tween so­cial and eco­nomic in­equal­ity.

In the ab­sence of de­tailed data on em­ploy­ment by class and caste, it is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand this cor­re­spon­dence. But an HT anal­y­sis of 2011 Cen­sus data on types of jobs held by var­i­ous so­cial groups throws up three in­ter­est­ing take-outs on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween so­cial and eco­nomic in­equal­ity.

The anal­y­sis also took into ac­count the in­comes for var­i­ous kinds of jobs (so as to un­der­stand which so­cial groups had the jobs with bet­ter in­comes and which didn’t). The cen­sus gives data on work­ers in ac­cor­dance with the Na­tional Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Oc­cu­pa­tions (NCO).

This has 10 broad cat­e­gories: pro­fes­sion­als; clerks; tech­ni­cians and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sion­als; leg­is­la­tors, se­nior of­fi­cers and man­agers; ser­vice work­ers and shop and mar­ket sales work­ers; plant and ma­chine op­er­a­tors and as­sem­blers; craft and re­lated trades work­ers; skilled agri­cul­tural and fish­ery work­ers; el­e­men­tary oc­cu­pa­tions; and work­ers not clas­si­fied by oc­cu­pa­tions.

The cat­e­gories listed above are ar­ranged in descend­ing or­der of their monthly per capita con­sump­tion ex­pen­di­ture (MPCE, a proxy for in­come) taken from the Na­tional Sam­ple Sur­vey Of­fice (NSSO ) data for 2011-12 (for de­tails see https://

So, what are the take-outs?

ONE: So­cial groups dis­play a fairly het­eroge­nous di­vi­sion across in­comes. Sure, Sched­uled Caste (SC) and Sched­uled Tribe (ST) work­ers have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share in low-pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions in In­dia.

But these head­line num­bers do not tell us the en­tire story. Cer­tain sub-castes within the SC/ST pop­u­la­tion are bet­ter off than the rest. For ex­am­ple, Jatavs, a Dalit sub-caste in Ut­tar Pradesh, or Mi­nas, an ST com­mu­nity in Ra­jasthan, are much bet­ter off than other SC/ST work­ers in terms of their share in bet­ter-pay­ing jobs.

The chances of SC/ST work­ers be­ing in a bet­ter pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tion also de­pend on the state they come from. Richer states have a greater share of well-pay­ing jobs, so this in­creases the like­li­hood of an SC/ST worker find­ing one as well.

TWO: The data clearly shows that SC/ST work­ers have a lower rel­a­tive share in bet­ter pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions, but there are vari­a­tions across re­gions.

The re­verse holds true for low pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions. The op­po­site trend can be seen for non-SC, non-ST work­ers. Since the cen­sus does not have the Other Back­ward Class (OBC) cat­e­gory, the non-SC non-ST group in­cludes both up­per caste and OBCs.

See Chart: Rel­a­tive share of SC-ST-Oth­ers

Rel­a­tive share of a so­cial group is its share of work­ers in an oc­cu­pa­tional cat­e­gory di­vided by its share in the to­tal num­ber of work­ers. This anal­y­sis ex­cludes cul­ti­va­tors and agri­cul­tural work­ers, so we are only look­ing at non-farm em­ploy­ment. These re­sults are on ex­pected lines. How­ever, what is of­ten not re­alised by many is the fact that these head­line num­bers hide sig­nif­i­cant sub-caste and ge­o­graph­i­cal dif­fer­ences.

For ex­am­ple, the com­bined rel­a­tive share of SC/ST work­ers in el­e­men­tary oc­cu­pa­tions, the low­est in­come cat­e­gory, was the high­est in Delhi, which is also the state where SC/ST work­ers had the se­cond low­est, only af­ter Odisha, rel­a­tive share among pro­fes­sion­als — the high­est in­come oc­cu­pa­tional cat­e­gory – in 2011. This should not be in­ferred as SC/ST work­ers be­ing worse off in Delhi than a state like Bi­har, as a greater share of SC/ST work­ers in Delhi (14.8%) were em­ployed in the top four oc­cu­pa­tions by MPCE than in Bi­har (10.6%).

In other words, an SC/ST worker in Delhi is bet­ter off than an SC-ST worker in many other parts of the coun­try. The rel­a­tive share of SC/ST work­ers in bet­ter pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions is much higher in north­east­ern states than other re­gions, a re­flec­tion of fact that the ST pop­u­la­tion there is much bet­ter off than the rest of the SC/ST pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try.

See Chart: State-wise The oc­cu­pa­tional break-up of work­ers also varies dras­ti­cally among states. For ex­am­ple, the share of top four oc­cu­pa­tional cat­e­gories by MPCE among to­tal work­ers in richer states such as Delhi and Ma­ha­rash­tra was al­most dou­ble the value in back­ward states such as Bi­har, Ut­tar Pradesh and Odisha. The re­verse holds when it comes to share of work­ers in four low­est pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions in such states.

THREE: Even among SCs and STs, there are sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions when it comes to rep­re­sen­ta­tion in bet­ter and low pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions. For ex­am­ple, among SCs, Jatavs in Ut­tar Pradesh had a rel­a­tive share of 1.1 in the top four oc­cu­pa­tions by MPCE. This num­ber was just 0.6 for Balmikis in the state. Sim­i­larly, Mi­nas had a rel­a­tive share of 1.6 among STs in top four oc­cu­pa­tions by MPCE, which is much higher than the cor­re­spond­ing val­ues for other SC/ST com­mu­ni­ties in the state. It should be noted that these rel­a­tive shares rep­re­sent share of a par­tic­u­lar caste group within the SC/ST pop­u­la­tion and not the en­tire pop­u­la­tion. The sub­caste anal­y­sis has also looked at only top six groups in each state within the SC/ST cat­e­gory to ex­clude com­mu­ni­ties which have a minis­cule share in the to­tal pop­u­la­tion within these groups.

See chart: Sum­mary find­ings from sub-caste state-wise

Sub-castes and tribes such as Jatavs in Ut­tar Pradesh and Mi­nas in Ra­jasthan ac­count for al­most half of the SC/ST worker pop­u­la­tion in these states. This might have given them sig­nif­i­cant po­lit­i­cal clout, gen­er­at­ing tail­winds in pur­suit of up­ward mo­bil­ity in the job mar­ket. To be sure, there are also com­mu­ni­ties such as the Malai Arayan tribe in Ker­ala which ac­counts for less than 10% of the work­ing ST pop­u­la­tion in the state, but has the high­est rel­a­tive share among STs in top four oc­cu­pa­tions by MPCE in the coun­try.

The anal­y­sis given above un­der­lines the haz­ards of me­chan­i­cally pri­ori­tis­ing one ba­sis of de­pri­va­tion against an­other while analysing the labour mar­ket in In­dia. It also shows that In­dia is in dire need of a data­base which can tell us about the ex­act so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus of var­i­ous so­cial groups.


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