Despite increasing urbanisation in India, the caste-based discrimination has not been annihilated rather it has manifested in different ways. Discuss with examples.

Caste is a hierarchical system, where an individual is assigned a status at birth. This results in people being graded as ‘high’ and ‘low’. Urbanization has weakened the bonds of caste.
Yet it is prevalent in urban areas in following ways:

  • Housing – De-facto segregation of residential areas based on caste, e.g. marginalized castes are more likely to live in urban slums.
  • Education – Due to economic discrimination, enrolment of backward castes in private schools is lower.
  • Risk of casteist discrimination in schools and colleges, e.g. Dalit students shunned during midday meals.
  • Employment – Economic opportunities are comparatively fewer for OBCs and SCs. Thus they are more concentrated in the informal and unorganized sectors of economy.
  • Occupations – As seen earlier, some occupations are linked to caste, e.g. manual scavenging, extracting hides from livestock.
  • Marriage – Inter caste marriages are only 5% of the total marriages. Caste-based matrimonials are quite common.

Caste acts as a barrier to equality and socio-economic mobility. It is thus important to target annihilation of caste.

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