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Participation and empowerment of dalits through panchayats: A sociological analysis

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Shalini Sharma, Simran K. Sidhu and Rajat

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Abstract

Indian Journal of Economics and Development
Year : 2012, Volume : 8, Issue : 2
First page : ( 63) Last page : ( 74)
Print ISSN : 2277-5412.

Participation and empowerment of dalits through panchayats: A sociological analysis

Sharma Shalini, Sidhu Simran K., Rajat
Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004

Online published on 1 August, 2013.

Abstract
The present study was undertaken to study the participation and empowerment of Dalits through Panchayati raj institutions. The study was conducted in two districts, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar having highest number of Dalit Sarpanches and Panches of Punjab. The study did not find any overt case of conflict between Dalits and upper-castes. In most instances, both the groups had working relations. All the selected panchayats adhered to the norm of onethird reservation of seats for women and proportionate representation of Dalits. The main obstacle faced by the respondents while performing their duties was lack of grants and pre-set pattern of fund leakage. Social obstacle of male dominance and culture of silence were strong among women and more so in upper-castes. Few cases of upper caste dominance of Dalits were reported though they were in latent form. The results indicated that Dalits were well aware of their powers and were assertive. There was significant correlation between participation level of Dalits with gender and education and that of non-Dalits with gender and income. This calls for an effective implementation of legislative measures for institutionalization of panchayati raj institutions.