An examination of affirmative action in India

Questions are often raised about the need for and efficacy of affirmative action (AA) in India. There are apprehensions about reservation of seats in government-aided educational institutions, government-sector jobs, and the legislature. This piece is an attempt at answering a few of those queries. This article is based on Ashwini Deshpande’s book, ‘Affirmative Action in India’ (2013), published by Oxford University Press, India

Question 1: What are the different sectors where reservations are given and why?

In India, seats are reserved in three different sectors: higher education, government jobs, and legislature. The Indian state is a welfare state which is committed to the cause of equality. The state wants people from marginalized segments to avail proper education so that they can compete in the labor market. Since discrimination happens in educational institutions, it becomes incumbent upon the state to reserve seats in jobs as well so that the effects of past discrimination can be undone. Considerable discrimination happens even in the labor market, which compels thinkers and policymakers to reserve seats at the level of local governance and legislature. This is done to address issues of discrimination in the corridors of power and make laws and policies to eradicate various discriminatory practices. One should always remember that reservation is for representation. It desires that all marginalized groups of people be adequately represented, and their voices are heard. It is a three-pronged approach which wants to give access to proper education, outstanding jobs and equal say in policymaking.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: An examination of affirmative action in India



About The Author