Representational image. (Photo:AFP)
New Delhi: A study published in the Indian Express, on urban homeowners rental preferences, shows high levels of discrimination experienced by Dalits and Muslims in seeking house in Delhi and NCR region which includes of Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.
The research team included Professor SK Thorat, chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and other scholars such as Vinod K Mishra and Anuradha Banerjee. The team attempted to get houses on rent in Delhi and NCR region between January and March 2012.
In both methodologies, the home-seekers had the same credentials but it was their names that indicated their caste and religion, which was creating troubles to seek house on rent.
The research methodology included contacting the "homeowners" via telephone or meeting them in personal. The telephonic conversation with the "homeowners" included 1,469 home seekers, 493 belonged to the upper-caste and others were Muslims and Dalits. It was found that the 493 upper-caste home seekers didn’t find it difficult to find houses for them, but it were the home seekers from the Muslim and Dalit community which faced problems in finding house on rent.
The personal meeting with the "homeowners" included 198 home seekers, out of which 66 belonged to upper-caste and rest were Dalits and Muslims. It was found that 97 per cent of upper-caste Hindus got a positive response, 18 per cent of Dalits and 31 per cent of Muslims faced rejection.
"It also means that a significant number of Dalits and Muslims have to spend much more to stay in accommodations in NCR than their upper-caste counterparts. This indicates a clear case of market failure where even prosperity does not allow you to buy your way out of discrimination," says Thorat.
He further added that the studies do reveal that Muslims are even worse off than Dalits as far as the rental housing market goes. "Non-monetary motive often prevails among landlords renting out houses," says the study, which chose Delhi for the research as it is often considered amongst the most migrant-friendly and cosmopolitan cities in India.