Marginalized Groups and the Common Minimum Program Sukhadeo Thorat

In recognition of the unique problems of the Dalits, Adiwasis and other religious minorities like the Muslims, the Indian government has developed policies for their economic, social and political empowerment. Dalits and Adiwasis are the two largest groups, constituting about 250 million in 2001 (about 167 million and 86 million respectively). Additionally, Muslims account for about 12% the population. The deprivation of such a vast mass of population is closely associated with the process of exclusion and discrimination based on group identity. The government has used a two-fold strategy for the empowerment of the SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe) communities, which…