TOPIC: General Studies 1
- Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
- Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
Why caste matters less in urban India
Marriage outside caste has not found social approval traditionally.
Reason: Honour killings continue to be reported across the country.
However, young people of urban middle-class India are no longer limiting their search for partners within their own caste.
Social outcomes are an unreliable indicator of social attitudes as they do not necessarily reflect people’s actual preferences.
In US, of all marriages, approx. 1% consists of black and white marriages. But, the social acceptance of these marriages has increased dramatically.
In India, a report suggests that interest in intercaste marriage is higher than the actual reported rate
- A 2004 Indian National Election Study was conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
- Sample: asked 27,000 respondents if intercaste marriage should be banned.
- Result: Though 60% approved of such proposition, only 47% of urban residents were in favour.
- Study: of more than 10,000 matrimonial advertisements in major national dailies was conducted between 1970 to 2010
- Result: requests for within-caste proposals fell from 30% during 1970-1980 to 19% for 2000-10
Motivations that drive intercaste marriage
To understand intercaste marriages, a study was conducted which focused on
- Dalit and upper caste women in urban middle class
- Arranged marriage institution
- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were targeted states
- Women’s behaviour- because the taboos against intercaste marriage are stronger for women than men. (Woman adopts husband’s caste)
1070 women were studied. They were given choice of three matrimonial matches who had
- high-income potential
- high status
- similarity in height, age, skin tone and educational status
- Only difference: each belonged to upper caste, backward caste and Dalit
- 62% women willing to look beyond their caste to find suitable matches
- 71% Dalit women and 54% upper caste women expressed interest in intercaste matches
Thoughts behind it
The marriage market, like any other market, works on principle of exchange. To get something, one has to offer something too.
Women approached marriage with a view to upgrade either economic status or caste status.
- Middle class upper caste woman would consider marrying a wealthier lower caste man (Trade of caste status)
- Lower caste woman from wealthy family would consider marrying middle class higher caste man (Trade of class status)
- Wealthier Dalit women, in comparison to lower middle and middle class Dalit women, were more likely to respond to other two out-of-caste matrimonial interests
Notable: Although an expression of matrimonial interest does not consequentially translate into marriage, yet considering the inter-caste match is transformative.
- For upward mobility, significant number of people consider crossing caste boundaries in marriage.
- Yet, stigma associated with Dalits ensures discrimination against them
- Upper caste women: For an identical profile of a groom, 52.1% showed interest for backward caste match and 28.7% for a Dalit match.
- By 2030, 40 per cent of Indians are predicted to live in urban areas
- Urban areas have relative anonymity of individual’s identity
- This doesn’t allow strict observation and enforcement of rules of ‘purity’ or ‘pollution’
- Fewer activities are related caste identity
- The urban middle class which was dominated by upper caste has now become more diverse with entry of backward castes and Dalits.
- Thus, Urbanisation has high probability of undermining caste
- Matrimonial ads published in the national dailies belonging to backward castes and Dalits- 1970- 1.5% à 2010- 10%
- Networks: In cities, middle class people shift from family and caste network to friends and professional networks.
- Reliance on technology: Though online matrimonial websites bundle caste with personal profile, new dating apps are different from it.
- Families run after such marriages with threat of humiliation, boycott and in extreme cases, honour killing.
- Caste based political parties and leaders may lose influence if intercaste marriages take place. Thus they incite violence as well as threaten the boycott of entire family.
Role of State
- State has to protect individual’s freedom to marry
- Few states have encouraged intercaste marriage by providing cash rewards or preferential access to government programs to intercaste couples. (Rajasthan and Haryana)
- Public campaigns in favour of intercaste marriages will encourage such practice and also slowly change people’s mind-set.
- Caste based politics has to be policed.
- Acting swiftly against instigators and propagators of honour killings will deter such future practices.
- Genetic studies: Before disappearing 1900 years ago, practice of intercaste marriages was prevalent in Indian subcontinent.
- B.R. Ambedkar had extensively propagated intercaste marriages. He observed that rules of caste and marriage were socially constructed, and what societies can build, can also be undone.
- Though caste fault lines remain strong in social and political arena, they are not set in stone. Openness to intercaste marriages indicate silent and gradual transformation of social behaviour.
Connecting the dots:
- Critically analyse if caste boundaries in urban areas are more blur than in rural areas.
- Integrating Dalits into Hindu society without upsetting the caste system is a far cry from Ambedkar’s call for annihilation of caste. Discuss. (HOT question)
General Studies 3
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
General Studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
India’s role in a changing global economy
- India has become the fastest-growing country even as the global economy has weakened.
- This is because – India got benefitted from a confluence of factors — such as the reduced international price of energy and resilience in domestic private consumption.
- However, if India has to continue its sustained growth leadership, it should carefully study and assess the global outlook and international policy agenda impacts.
Concerns: We have earlier read that –
- Global growth has been underperforming in recent years
- Since 2008 financial crisis, the cyclical nature of industrial country growth has been deeper than expected
- This underperformance is increasingly structural in nature, i.e. it will affect emerging markets as well
Therefore, this article gives a solution for above concern – It advocates for an urgent requirement for a global policy agenda to address the rising structural weaknesses.
And the article also discusses that India must play a key role in helping to build and implement such a global agenda, as part of the process in sustaining its own growth.
Factors that affect Indian Economy:
Global structural weaknesses deserve to be looked at carefully. They arise from both supply-side factors and demand constraints, affecting global trade, a critical growth engine in recent decades:
- Low productivity: Productivity has clearly been falling in industrialised countries, and in emerging markets, leading to supply shortages.
- Spillover effects: China’s slowing growth has had significant spillover effects on other countries.
- Falling investments and innovations: There is rising consensus that the spillover effects led to falling investment returns, perhaps from slowing innovation that has reduced investment.
(Greater research and increased competition, especially in the service sector, would help raise investment and productivity.)
- Poor demand and rising inequalities: The imbalances slowing growth possibly also reflect an overall demand shortfall.
Why has demand slowed down?
Demand was likely boosted by debt in many advanced and emerging market countries, sequentially, and capital is now at the risk of moving out of emerging markets.
Additionally, many believe rising inequalities in advanced countries and key emerging markets have reduced the propensity to consume and produced what is called a “savings glut” in many countries—the counterpart of a demand-side constraint which feeds the fear of deflation.
- Global trade has stalled far below the long-term annual average trade growth of at least 5% until the start of the financial crisis, and even more, in emerging markets.
It is not just cyclical in nature: there is evidence that trade elasticity to income has fallen, especially in the United States and China. Of course, trade liberalisation has slowed significantly with the collapse of the Doha Development Round.
India is and will be affected by all these factors.
- Especially on the investment side, corporate investment remains low and higher levels of public infrastructure are needed to meet supply bottlenecks and crowd in private investment.
- On the demand side, inequalities have clearly increased in recent years and exports remain weak though India has been relatively protected from the factors affecting China’s reduced trade.
What India should do?
While each of above mentioned factors require concerted domestic policy reforms, India also needs to be fully engaged in the emerging G20-led international policy agenda being developed to deal with global structural weaknesses and raise public investment where fiscal space is available.
- Indian markets should remain attractive:
- India and many other emerging markets clearly offer higher investment returns—partly on account of their demographics—and should remain attractive to the global savings glut with their deepening international integration.
- India should reap the benefits out of WTO trade facilitation and reduced trade costs:
- With the failure of the Doha Round to move ahead with multilateral trade liberalisation, other efforts are being proposed to revive trade. Thus far, India has not benefited as much as others like China (as it did after securing World Trade Organization (WTO) membership), from the trade booms in recent decades.
- But India has ratified the deal reached by the WTO on trade facilitation, which should, potentially, significantly reduce trade costs.
- India should increase its trade integration through more regional and bilateral trade agreements:
- A number of regional and bilateral trade agreements have been proposed, some going beyond manufacturing, to cover agriculture, investment, business, and other services where India has comparative strength.
In any case, steps to raise India’s trade integration more quickly in the South Asia region would help catalyse new investment and competition.
- India must play a key role in helping to build and implement a global policy agenda
- There is the issue of the international monetary system and how it manages the volatility of global liquidity.
- Also at stake are the spillovers from domestic monetary policies, especially from the industrialised countries, and their implications for global liquidity.
- Therefore, there is an urgent requirement for a global policy agenda to address the rising structural weaknesses and better manage the volatility of global liquidity.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now discussing a road map for strengthening the international monetary system, and India needs to be part of the brainstorming behind it; how to better manage liquidity shocks and deal with external financing needs.
India’s increased role
- India’s role is especially important as tomorrow’s key financial players—official and private—will come from emerging markets and their rising financial integration will impact global liquidity.
- In order to better manage the volatility of global liquidity, there is a need for a global mechanism.
- In the absence of such mechanism, the world will continue to be vulnerable to the sudden drying up of liquidity or of disorderly acceleration in capital flows. This risk, in particular, is now a major concern in the current international monetary situation.
Need of the hour: A transformed and strengthened IMF
- India has advocated that the role of IMF should be transformed to act as the global mechanism, with the mandate and instruments that would allow it to regulate global liquidity in addition to its other functions.
- IMF should be provided with a stronger governance framework that reflects the rising role of emerging markets, a mandate for effective surveillance, stabilisation of global liquidity and exchange rates, mechanisms for reducing the risk of disorderly spillovers, and for dealing with debt restructuring. Eventually, the IMF would need to be better equipped with a monetary asset instrument to deal with changing global liquidity.
- Such a transformed IMF could be charged, in cooperation with national and international central banks, with continuously monitoring global liquidity flows and taking the regulatory decisions needed to manage the same.
- Undoubtedly, it will take time to build the necessary global consensus. To achieve it, international public opinion needs to be better informed of the ongoing risks of instability inherent in the current system.
- In fact, in today’s climate, it is highly desirable for major stakeholders to take this initiative forward and convene a new Bretton Woods II conference to consider the necessary changes in the Articles of Agreement of the IMF.
Connecting the dots:
- Highlight the factors and global structural weaknesses that affect Indian Economy and examine why there is an urgent requirement for India to fully engage in the emerging G20-led international policy agenda to address the rising structural weaknesses.
- Highlight why there is an urgent requirement for a transformed and strengthened IMF in a changing global economy.
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