ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste and Access to Public Services

‘Intensified’ Disadvantages

There are specific norms and guidelines for the delivery of public services, of which certain are made available specifically for the socially excluded groups; others under different flagship schemes are universal in nature. This paper looks at the issue of caste and access to these services in the context of the Integrated Child Development Services. It draws evidence from a sample of nearly 5,000 households and more than 200 institutional service delivery points in the mixed-caste villages spread across three states. The findings suggest that the implementation gap coupled with exclusionary biases not only affect the access of lower caste groups to public services but also often intensify their disadvantages.

This paper is based on a part of a larger study on “Inclusion in Multiple Spheres” undertaken under the IIDS–UNICEF Research Programme. The author would like to thank Sukhadeo Thorat, R P Mamgain, Soumya Kapoor Mehta and Ramya Subrahmanian for dialogues and discussions that helped advance the ideas presented in this paper which has benefi ted immensely from their inputs. The author would like to thank the anonymous referee for useful c omments on an earlier draft.

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