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Statistical evidence on social and economic exclusion in Nepal
Arun K Das & Magnus Hatlebakk
Source of the information:
Chr. Michelsen Institute
This paper is a discourse on social exclusion in Nepal. It aims to identify statistically significant economic and social development differences between castes and ethnic groups. It reports on the changes in poverty levels and other human development indicators that have taken place during the conflict period. All indicators are disaggregated by caste and ethnic group, urban versus rural and for the ecological belts of Nepal.
The following are the main findings:
There are noticeable disparities in educational achievement, measured in terms of literacy and years of schooling. The hill Bahun/Chhetri are ahead in terms of primary education, the Tarai groups have less education.
Health services - For child mortality the hill Bahun/Chhetris have the lowest rate, while surprisingly the relatively wealthy Tarai middle castes have the highest. With good access to health services and economic resources, the explanation may be lack of education in these communities, particularly among female household members.
Economic variables - land is the focus of analysis. The traditional Tharu and Yadav landlords of the Tarai have the largest landholdings, matched by the hill Bahun/Chhetri group in terms of land value. Most Tarai Dalits and Musahars are landless. Landlessness combined with poor education have forced the Tarai Dalits to be farm laborers, where due to a poor bargaining position they accept very low agricultural wages.
Poverty is at its highest among the Tamang ethnic group of the hills, as well as among hill and Tarai Dalit groups. In sum the hill Bahun/Chettris are doing well, followed by the Janajatis, where the hill Janajatis dominate, thereafter come the Tarai middle castes, and at the bottom are the Dalits and the Muslims.