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Free radios distributed to India's lowest caste

By Sara B. Caldwell     Aug 10, 2009 in Lifestyle
Officials of Bihar state are distributing radios to Dalits, the "untouchables" of the Hindu caste system, to help them become more informed. Although untouchability is a crime, Dalits continue to face discrimination and injustice.
Bihar state officials have begun to distribute radios to its Dalit citizens. The radios, at 400 rupees (€5.89, US$8.37) a piece, are being distributed to empower those who are traditionally socially and economically at the bottom.
An internal FY2006 report found that Bihar's Human Development Indicator was 20 per cent below India's national average, according to The Times of India. The FY2008 report shows that, overall, the economic and human development situation has been improving.
Bihar's Tribal Welfare Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said that the radio
will entertain the tired villagers with music and will make them aware about what is happening around with news.
"You can listen to music, news and improve your areas of information if you have a radio at home," stated Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
It is estimated that 85 per cent of Bihar's population lives in the rural countryside, with over half of those under the age of 25. In relation to the radio, the state's Deputy Chief Mnister Sushil Kumar Modi stated that only four per cent of the state's officials are aware of the Internet's existence according to the Bihar Times.
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