Reservation Policy and its Implementation across Domains in India

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 perhaps remains the most controversial and polarising public policy that the Independent India has adopted. While much of the national preoccupation over reservation has 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 have the State and its agencies enforced the reservation policies? We know even less about the trends of implementation in different domains and how or what percentage of the population among these social groups has benefited from these policies. The 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 the reservation policy, apart from flagging crucial issues relating to linkages among the three key domains of reservations, namely, higher education, employment and political representation. A comparison of all three domains in terms of implementation of reservation policies, across different time periods (for example, pre- and post-Mandal phases) and among different regions, provides useful insights about these linkages. In doing so, the work throws some crucial light on the processes at work, and identifies areas for further research.

Editor(s) / Author(s)

Niranjan Sahoo

Niranjan Sahoo