Glossary: Scheduled Castes

Article 341 of the Indian constitution allows thegovernment to compile a schedule (list) of castes, races, or tribes or parts of groups within castes, races, or tribes that are economically and socially disadvantaged and are therefore entitled to protection and specified benefits under the constitution. Untouchables, also known as Harijans (q.v.) or Dalits (q.v.), constitute the bulk of Scheduled Castes. See also Scheduled Tribes (q.v.). The 1991 census tabulated 138 million Scheduled Caste members throughout India, representing about 16 percent of the total population. The largest numbers were in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. The schedule in the constitution does not list the Scheduled Castes by name.

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