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The key to revitalising India's reservation system

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    13th Sep, 2021


Recent, central government's decision to introduce bookings for some Class for Backward Classes (OBCs) for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has sparked controversy over the class census and brought controversy over prominence.

Problems with the current policy of reservation

With the placement of seats in political and governmental institutions, it was envisaged that the parties who have reached so far will be able to secure a place in power-sharing and decision-making. This disability removal strategy has not changed the balance of life expectancy in many groups in our unique society.

What are the problems?

  1. Updated problem
  • The report of the Justice G. Rohini Commission on the classification of OBCs based on data from the past five years on central government functions and the acceptance of OBCs in tertiary institutions highlights this problem.
  • The commission concluded that 97% of OBC's average profits would be 25% lower.
  • 983 OBC communities - 37% of the total - have zero representation in central government services and admission to secondary universities.
  • Also, the report states that only 10% of OBC communities receive 24.95% employment and admission.
  • Clearly, to assume that the evils of all the minority groups in each sector are the same is misguided.
  • As a result, the distribution of booking ratings has severely hampered the political projects of the southern coalition.
  1. Lack of data
  • There is a great need for accurate information on the socio-economic status of the various social groups.
  • Although section-based bookings have been the most important factor in promoting high social mobility we do not have sufficient information on the achievement and attainment of this policy measure.
  • We do not know how liberating it is to make castes constantly tied to traditional sources of income and unable to see the new opportunities offered by the opening up of the economy.
  • What is urgently needed is a way to deal with this lacuna and make the system more responsive and responsive to the needs of the parties.

What needs to be done?

Since all classification will lead to renewal and division over time, two things are needed.

  • Evidence-based policy option: We need to develop a variety of content-sensitive, evidence-based options that can be used to meet the specific needs of specific groups.
  • Institution: We need an institution similarly the Equal Opportunities Commission of the United States or the United Kingdom can do two important but related things:
  • Indicate the reduction of data relevant to the socio-economic census of the various communities.
  • Research the performance of employers and educational institutions on a fair and equitable basis and issue codes of conduct in various fields.
  • This will facilitate policy formulation and monitoring at the institutional level.
  • Similar recommendations were made over the past decade in the recommendations made by the expert committee of the Equal Opportunity Commission (2008) in its comprehensive report to the Department of Minor Affairs.


As evident, a socio-economic caste-based census becomes a necessary precondition to initiate any meaningful reform in the affirmative action regime in India.

Verifying, please be patient.

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