Anti-caste legislation

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The caste system which developed in India divides communities into groups based on birth, marriage and occupation. There are said to be 400,000 Dalits known also as known as ‘untouchables’ living in Britain who according to campaigners suffer prejudice in work and social life. Caste discrimination is being consulted upon by Government with a view to bringing forward legislation in the summer of 2015. The draft order outlawing discrimination on caste grounds is not expected to be published until the autumn of 2014 for public consultation. The paper from the Government Equalities Offices published in July this year says that they want to improve the understanding of employers of the caste system in preparation for the new law and this is why it is taking so much time. The practice of discrimination is already outlawed in India but is so sensitive that it seems to be taking a long time to enact in this country. The time will be taken up with research and discussions with interest groups. As part of this they have also commissioned ‘Talk 4 A Change’ to undertake the community engagement who will run a series of practical solution pilot schemes with partners and individuals. They say that they are concerned not to burden industry with unnecessary bureaucracy which will be counterproductive by entrenching existing attitudes. Meanwhile the existing anti-discrimination legislation will be the only recourse for those who feel they are being discriminated against.

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