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Reservation Policy and Its Implementation Across Domains in India An Analytical Review by

Reservation Policy and Its Implementation Across Domains in India An Analytical Review


Reservation Policy and Its Implementation Across Domains in India An Analytical Review by

India runs the world's oldest and one of the most comprehensive affirmative action policies in the form of reservations or quotas for its disadvantaged sections. Ever since its adaptation, this critical public policy remains the most controversial and polarising public policy that the Independent India has adopted as yet. While much of the national preoccupation over reservation have been devoted to debate its necessity and relevance in addressing exclusion and inequality, the country still seems to lack a data-based understanding of its enforcement across different domains. How earnestly state and its agencies have enforced the reservation policies? We know less about the trends of implementation in different domains and how or what percentage of population among these social groups have benefited from it. Fact is there are very few credible research studies on the issue of affirmative policies in India. This publication is an attempt to fill some of the void by compiling data on key domains of reservation policy apart from flagging crucial issues relating to linkages among the three key domains of reservations, namely, higher education, employment, and political representation. There is a comparison of all three domains in terms of implementation of reservation policies, across different time periods (e.g., pre- and post-Mandal phases) and among different regions, that provides useful insights about these linkages. In doing so, the work throws some critical insights on the processes at work, and identifies areas for further research.


It is hoped that this monograph achieves two useful objectives. One, it pools together data from various sources on the implementation of reservations for different social groups and provides a comprehensive empirical overview of the current status of participation/representation of reserved categories in different domains. Two, it highlights the analytical importance of analysing affirmative action in different domains together so that the linkages across key domains of affirmative polices can be explored. It explicitly recognises the possibility of higher participation of specific segments of population in one domain (e.g., education) influencing participation in other domains. While these linkages have been identified in earlier studies, very few studies have looked at this issue systematically. This study provides a good starting point for exploring the dynamics of participation in different domains over a period of time. --Rakesh Basant, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation and Professor of Economics, IIM, Ahmedabad

About the Author

Niranjan Sahoo is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and a Visiting Fellow with University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Book Info

Publication date

30th June 2010


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Academic Foundation




Central government policies



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