Wednesday, March 24, 2010

REVIEW: Reservation Policy...

Reservation Policy and its Implementation Across Domians in India
Niranjan Sahoo
Academic Foundation
Rs. 595
Pp 112
ISBN - 978-81-7188-759-0

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. 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, 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.

Reservation: policy and implementation Hindu
This slim volume is an attempt to assess the seriousness with which the Indian state has implemented programmes of affirmative action. The emphasis is on detailing the various components of such programmes and examining their effectiveness through published data. While the aim is laudable, it needs to be said at the outset that the work has fallen between two stools — its analysis is not incisive enough to hold the interest of an informed reader, nor does it serve as an introduction to the interested but essentially lay audience.

First, let us see what the book's strengths are. There are data on a spectrum of issues relating to affirmative action such as the status of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes in political institutions from the local bodies to the StateLegislatures and Parliament, and in relation to parameters like literacy, education, and employment. The information is collated from authentic sources. In this sense, it will be useful for any student who wants to have a quick access to data. Of course, there are other such books. But this indeed is a positive feature.

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