Chapter 1. On Equality

Equal Right to Vote
• In India, all adults irrespective of religion, education, caste, rich or poor are allowed to vote. It is known as Universal Adult Franchise, and it is an essential aspect of a democracy.
• idea of a universal adult franchise is based on Idea of Equality because it states that every adult in a country, irrespective of their wealth and community, has one vote.

Other forms of Equality
• caste system is one of India’s most common forms of inequality.
• Omprakash Valmiki [1950–2013] was a famous Dalit writer who had described conditions of Dalits in his autobiography, Joothan.
• Caste, religion, class background, gender are things that lead to Inequality in society.
• dignity of person is violated when a person is treated unequally.

Equality in Indian Democracy
• Indian Constitution recognises every person as Equal.
• This means that every individual in country, including male and female persons from all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic backgrounds are recognised as equal.
• provisions in constitution that deal with Equality are:
(1) First, every person is equal before law. This means that every person from President of country to a domestic worker has to obey same laws.
(2) Second, no person can be discriminated based on their religion, race, caste, place of birth, or whether they are female or male.
(3) Third, every person has access to all public places including playgrounds, hotels, shops, & markets. All persons can use publicly available wells, roads, & bathing ghats.
(4) Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
• government has tried to implement equality that is guaranteed in Constitution, first through laws and second through government programmes or schemes to help marginalised communities.

Article 15 of Indian Constitution
• It states that:
(1) Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
(2) State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
(3) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to:

[a] Access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, & places of public entertainment; or

[b] use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads, & places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to use of general public.

Midday Meal Scheme
• Midday meal scheme refers to programme introduced in all government elementary schools to provide children with cooked lunch.
• Tamil Nadu was first state in India to initiate this scheme.
• This programme has had many positive effects that more poor children have begun enrolling and regularly attending school and attendance has been improved.
• This programme has helped reduce caste prejudices because children of all castes in school eat this meal together.
• midday meal programme helps reduce hunger of poor students who often come to school and cannot concentrate because their stomachs are empty.
• This kind of government programmes play an important role in increasing equality of opportunity. ‘Zero Hunger’ is one of Sustainable Development Goals [SDG] of United Nations.

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