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There is sufficient evidence to conclude that Dalits are substantially under-represented in the
non-farm economy of India. They also face subtle forms of discrimination as job seekers and
entrepreneurs. This paper presents the geography of their enterprises by studying the concentrations
of Dalit owned non-farm enterprises across major states using Economic Census data for 1998 and
2005. This analysis shows that there are significant shifts taking place in the choices Dalit entrepreneurs are making regarding both the type of enterprise as well as its location. West Bengal,
Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh are significant sites of change that show Dalits moving
away from traditional occupations and into more contemporary sectors of the economy. The high
share of Dalit enterprises in West Bengal, its persistence in Maharashtra, and its growth in Tamilnadu
over this period make room for very different interpretations of wherein IndiaDalits are most enabled

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