The research titled, ‘Determinants of rural sanitation in India and implications for public policy’ draws critique for the existing landscape of development sector and public policy. The trends over the years in the sector have recognised identities such as gender, race, and religion but overwhelmingly neglects the question of caste identity–even though it is an important determinant of life opportunity for a fifth of the world’s population. This review asks why addressing caste-based inequality and discrimination does not feature in intergovernmental commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals, and whether it should. Taking India as its focus, it finds that caste has been treated as an archaic system and source of historical disadvantage due compensation through affirmative action in ways that overlook its continuing importance as a structure of advantage and of discrimination in the modern economy, especially post-liberalization from the 1990s.
People Involved: Indranil De