India’s per capita gross domestic product increased five times between 2000 and 2019. The income, however, is concentrated only in a few hands .
How has the marginalised community in India fared in the last couple of decades? Has their situation changed?
There are certainly many changes that one may observe in the last 20 years. Access to food grains from the public distribution system at a subsidised rate has improved; many villages have been electrified; more children are going to primary schools in villages and urban slums; toilets have been constructed in several villages; many now use mobile phones.
But has there been any significant change in the income of small and marginal farmers among Adivasis and Dalits?
This is probably a more complex question to answer. When we started our journey as development practitioners two decades ago, we had to conduct a village study as a part of our training. While it was not a very systematic income study, it did give a fair idea about the average income of the people with whom we were supposed to work.