The Indian caste system originated in ancient India and gradually evolved concurrently with Indian history. Dalits in Indian history were considered as lower caste untouchables and were deprived of basic human rights. After the onset of modern economic development and the progressive initiatives taken by the government, the situation has improved considerably. The modern Indian state, since independence has been oriented towards providing reservations for Dalits in education and other public services. However, even with continuous efforts to eradicate the caste system and numerous measures to improve their lives, Dalits, specifically Dalit women, are still deprived of their basic needs. Many of them have moved to urban areas to earn their livelihoods and find employment mostly in the unorganized sector. Empowering these large numbers of Dalit women is a challenging endeavour, especially when they are deprived and mostly unaware of basic healthcare needs.

The present research paper aims to discover the factors influencing the migration of Dalit women. It explores the deteriorating quality of life experienced by Dalit women with increased out-of-pocket expenditures for healthcare. The paper suggests cost-effective practices for reducing healthcare payments for low-income Dalit domestic helpers. The researcher conducted a cross-sectional survey using an in-depth interview with 10 Dalit women working as domestics in Bangalore. A convenient sampling method was used to select the sample. Thematic content analysis with some grounded theory was used to analyse data. NVivo12 Pro software was used for qualitative data analysis. Observed results suggest poverty and caste discrimination were the main reasons for migration. Results indicate that better cost-effective healthcare facilities would improve the quality of life of Dalit women. However, empowering and entitling Dalit women is the greatest challenge.

Author Biography

Nimble O J is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Management Studies, Presidency College, Bangalore, India. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Nimble O J. Email: nimblevivek@gmail.com.

A. V. Chinnasamy is currently working as Assistant Professor in Government Arts College for Women, Nilakottai, India.