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.