ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Entrepreneurship and Marginalised Social Identities in India

The nature and extent of the under-representation of marginalised caste groups in enterprise ownership in India are examined. It is found that exclusion takes place in three distinct stages. First, the share of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe or Other Backward Class individuals in ownership of any enterprise is less than their share in the workforce. Second, among those who do engage in entrepreneurial activities, a disproportionately higher share of entrepreneurs from the marginalised identity groups are engaged in enterprises, which are not purely commercial and are likely to be subsistence-oriented. And finally, even within the owners of purely commercial enterprises, those from marginalised groups tend to be concentrated in the smaller enterprises and are severely under-represented in the larger and more productive ones. 


The authors thank Rosa Abraham, Anand Shrivastava and Akhil Alha for helpful comments. Errors and omissions remain the responsibility of the authors.



Social identities such as a person’s gender, caste, religion or ethnic/linguistic background continue to play an important role in determining their social and economic outcomes such as access to education, employment or credit, type of occupation as well as earnings. Disadvantaged social groups (women, marginalised castes, Muslims, and Adivasis) are under-represented in decent jobs as well as in ownership of enterprises. Although economic growth has reduced such disparities, they remain at unacceptably high levels (Centre for Sustainable Employment 2023).

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Published On : 29th Mar, 2024

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