Study on SCs & OBCs in Sondh Village of Mewat District

Project: Application of Geospatial Technologies for Identification & Development of Household Database for Scheduled Castes (SCs) & Other Backward Classes (OBCs) of Sondh Village in Mewat District (Haryana)

Commissioned by: Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India

One of MDS’ key areas has been conducting research studies in Mewat and across India which help in policy making. This is a study done in Sondh, a major village in Taoru block of Mewat district in Haryana with scheduled caste population of more than a thousand. It is among the most socio-economically and educationally extremely backward villages in Mewat. Development activities in this region have remained uneven and weaker sections like SCs & OBCs have been further deprived because of abject poverty and lack of basic amenities.

The objective of the study was to collect, collate and compile  a comprehensive and comparative database of Sondh Village,  and to study the  socio-economic status, existing skills, product range and marketing system of products made by SCs & OBCs of the village. The database was prepared based on latest 2011 census.

The project observed that the majority of the SC population of Sondh have two major sources of livelihood under the traditional jajmani system under which SCs & OBCs perform various functions for upper castes and in return receive grain for their livelihood:

  1. Cleaning /scavenging traditional household toilets, wherever exist and
  2. Garbage lifting/collection from all village streets.

Another occupation, i.e. collection of animal carcasses is also assigned only to SCs. Due to their occupation, SCs are often exposed to safety and health hazards and at the same time they continue to be looked down upon & seen with disrespect by other villagers. During the study, a few SC households recalled their horrifying life experiences and how they were condemned to a calling which virtually segregated them from the rest of society and made them always look filthy and contemptible. Awareness creation about modern toilets & ‘World Toilet Day’ were intensively done by MDS during the project period post which the SC population started realizing that their village can be  completely made scavenging  free if modern toilets are made in every household using S&T.

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The socio-demographic profile of scavenging households in Sondh indicate that almost all the scavengers as well as OBC classes are part of the informal  sector, hence are not satisfactorily covered by any specific government facility or scheme. The study observed that there are occupational safety and health measures that can be taken. For e.g. for collecting recyclable waste, scavengers can be given improvised working gears such as sacks, gloves, long iron bars with hooks etc. We also observed that there are other skilled works like stitching of footballs, volleyballs and juti making that can be promoted among these SC & OBC workers to improve their living conditions.

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Papers published from this report include:

Final Project Completion Report (PCR) on Application of Geo-spatial Technologies for Identification & Development of Household Database for SCs & OBCs of Sondh Village in Mewat District (Haryana)