The Supreme Court of India has upheld legislation for dramatically increasing the affirmative-action quotas at institutes of higher learning. the legislation effectively takes the quota to 49% and encompasses all sections of society that belong to scheduled castes and tribes(22%) and other backward classes(OBC’s who get most of the new 27%). This does not include those who are economically well-off, for obvious reasons.

Given the treatment meted out to the so-called ‘lower’ castes in India over the past few centuries at least, this is a reasonable first step towards social justice. now if only they could bring the same attempted fairness into agricultural policy and foreign relations, we’d be well on our way to a just state. i’m not holding my breath on this front, however.

For all the furore raised by certain sections of the news media about the system in institutes of higher education in india, the fact remains that the government has rather consistently stated that this will not affect the ‘general’ category and that the quotas will be met through increased capacities rather than restricting entry. of course, whether the government is willing to spend the necessary amount to bring the same quality or pulls a u-turn on this, effectively crippling the quota system, will determine the final outcome of the legislation.

8 thoughts on “QUOTAQUOTAQUOTA

  1. I don’t know much about the castes in India beyond the mere fact of their existence. What percentage of the population would be in the “lower” castes? Is it 50%? Not sure affirmative-action is quite the right term here, perhaps “karmic balance”…

  2. the Scheduled Castes themselves consist of about 25% of the population. i’ll have to get back to you on the OBC lists, but i dont doubt that it’s quite close.

  3. I’m with fish in my general ignorance of the caste system, I’m afraid. When someone applies to university how would an admissions person know the caste system to which the applicant belongs?

  4. fish: one survey puts the number of backward classes at about 41% of the country… so some may complain that this is not even adequate. of course, the judgement and ruling both state that those economically well-off will not be covered under this quota system


    There is a nice little Box in the application form that asks you to list your caste status in most universities and affiliated colleges.

    Those belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs need to get their application forms certified by a person called the Mandal Revenue Officer(who is basically responsible for various welfare measures in a particular jurisdiction), who checks your birth certificate against the list of scheduled castes, tribes and other backward classes and also at family income and the employment status of dad and verifies if it agrees with this list

  5. Man, human beings are screwed up everywhere aren’t they?

    Just the fact that the official government term is “Backwards Classes” (assuming not a translational thing) is already screwed.

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