The story of India's economic surge is dominated by two conflicting narratives.
... Delving into the relationship between caste and entrepreneurship, the researchers have found that scheduled castes and tribes, the most disadvantaged groups in Hinduism's hierarchy, owned very little businesses despite a decade of sprightly economic growth and a long history of affirmative action.
Mining information thrown up by the 2005 economic census covering more than 42 million enterprises, they found schedule castes owned only 9.8% of all enterprises in India in 2005, well below their 16.4% share of the total population.
The scheduled tribes owned only 3.7% of non-farm enterprises despite being 7.7% of the population.
However, ownership of business among OBC's - an acronym for Other Backward Castes or the "middle castes" who "neither suffering the extreme social and economic discrimination of the Scheduled Castes, nor enjoying the social privileges of the upper castes" - has grown.
OBCs comprise 41% of India's people. Their members owned 43.5% of all enterprises in 2005, and accounted for 40% of non-farm employment.
This is a remarkable achievement considering that affirmative action for this group was widely introduced only in the 1990s.
The pattern of dismally low ownership of businesses among the most disadvantaged groups, the researchers found, is not specific to any one region or state in India. ...