ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Reservation

Letters Travails of Workers Today V idyadhar Date’s article, ‘Harsh Reality of Workers Today’ (March 25), deserves sincere acclaim. There is no doubt that this is a crisis period. Trade unions are losing their earlier importance in the organised sector. Factories are closing down all over India...

Merits of Mandal II

ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY Merits of Mandal II The controversial proposal to institute reservations for the other backward classes (OBCs) in institutions of higher and professional education

Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2005

Conservation is believed to be most effective when people, who depend on a particular resource, are made partners in managing that resource. Instances have favourably recorded the involvement of local people in forests or wildlife after they were accorded a stake in the protection or propagation of the same. The scheduled tribes bill, being currently debated by the government, promises to be the first step in laying the foundation for a more democratic management of forests, essential for both forests and forest communities to survive.

Women's Reservation Bill

The UPA government has suggested a new bill to increase the number of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures and reserve 33 per cent of them for women. One point that emerges clearly from the debate is that neither the political parties nor the government are clear on certain important issues, including how many seats will be added and on what basis. Increasing the number of seats in the Lok Sabha by amending the Constitution would go against the spirit of the 91st amendment and the National Population Policy, 2000 that freezes the expansion of seats until 2026.

Backward Caste Politics in Uttar Pradesh

The several political parties espousing the cause of the backwards in UP have played a part in reconfiguring the political agenda in the country and providing a platform for transformative politics. But on important issues, the performance of the backward movement in the state has been less than satisfactory. It has failed to address the issue of 'backward identity' and has been unable to develop a class politics.

Justice for Dalits among Dalits

In a recent judgment, which is replete with arguments against reservations as such, the Supreme Court has argued that apportionment of the reservations made to SCs or STs to subgroups within cannot be done by the state legislatures. Indeed, even Parliament does not have the competence to do so since the Constitution has intended that the SCs and STs are an indivisible, homogeneous entity.

Political Participation, Representation and the Urban Poor

In recent times, social scientists have noted the decline of state responsiveness to social claims. There appears an equal decline in the ability of existing structures of representation to provide poorer social groups influence over policy. On the other hand, there is also evidence of a crisis in popular representation in several low- and middle-income countries. Poorer social groups appear to have a limited capacity to present a reform agenda that addresses issues of basic rights and ensures livelihoods. To test this hypothesis, this paper studies sample communities in Delhi, representative of a broad cross section of the population. Through an analysis of the data collected, the study describes and explains patterns of political participation, focusing in particular on ways in which poorer social groups organise, obtain political representation and try to solve collective social problems. It appears, contrary to most expectations, that the needs and interest of poorer people are increasingly being met through the 'new politics' of social movements, the poor in particular still seek to represent themselves and to tackle their problems through political parties.

Reservations and Casteism

The growth of caste consciousness has hurt the development of progressive social consciousness among the oppressed and exploited millions of the labouring classes because caste ideology has made workers casteists and not fighters for secular anti-poverty programmes.

Reservation and Efficiency

The corporate sector needs to keep in mind that anti-discrimination measures like reservation are needed for growth as much as equity. It is necessary to emphasise that anti-discrimination policies will not only provide fair and non-discriminatory access to historically excluded and discriminated groups like the dalits, but simultaneously remove constraints imposed by caste discrimination on labour markets, and thereby induce competitiveness and economic growth.

Implications of Reservations in Private Sector

The proposal to extend reservations to the private sector has generated mixed reactions. The private sector is divided on the idea. The issue may go yet again to the Supreme Court. The implications of the proposal could be that labour productivity in the private sector may decline, the undeserving among the SC/STs and OBCs may get most of the benefits as they have managed to in the public sector in the past and for the really marginalised SC/STs reservations may not mean much as they are not equipped to avail of the benefits.

The 'Creamy Layer'

Several times in post-independence India, questions have been raised on reservations and whether its true benefits have percolated to sections that really need them. The reality is that reservations have served essentially as tools to absorb privileged sections of the lower castes into the ruling classes. Moreover, the politics of caste 'identity' also founded on reservations, has helped push real economic problems facing the poor away from the centre stage.

Reservations for EBCs

The proposed reservations for EBCs fly in the face of government pledges towards disinvestment and downsizing. Moreover, there remain serious impediments to ensuring a legislative amendment, notably insufficient support for the government in parliament and scheduling of general elections as early as next year.

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