The key to revitalising India’s reservation system

  • IASbaba
  • September 6, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-1: Indian Society & its challenges
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

The key to revitalising India’s reservation system

Context: Introducing reservations for OBCs in the All India Quota of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) examinations.

Why Reservations?

  • In deeply unequal and oppressive social order of Indian Society, some sort of state support (like reservations) is needed to promote inclusive development.
  • Through reservations, marginalised groups — which have suffered generations of oppression and humiliation — would be able to find place in the power sharing and decision-making processes. 

However, reservation has not translated into an equalisation of life chances for many groups in our heterogeneous society.


  • Intra-Group Demands: There is now a strong demand to revise the policy, from those who have not been able to enjoy the benefits of reservations from within the marginalised sections
  • Asymmetrical distribution of reservation: 97% of central OBC quota benefits go to just under 25% of its castes. As many as 983 OBC communities — 37% of the total — have zero representation in both central government jobs and admissions to central universities. (G.Rohini Commission report)
  • Insufficiency of Data: There is hardly any legible data on the socio-economic conditions of varied social groups at State & local level. Also, we do not know what liberalisation has done to castes which remained tied to more traditional sources of income.

Way Forward: 

There is a need for an institution alike the Equal Opportunities Commission of the USA or UK which can undertake the following: 

  • Make a deprivation index by using the data from the socio-economic-based census of different communities and rank them to make policies specific to each deprived community.
  • Undertake an audit on performance of employers and educational institutions on non-discrimination and equal opportunity provided.
  • Issue codes of good practice in different sectors.

Connecting the dots:

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