Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
4. Caste based census provides data that will help further streamline affirmative action and ensure the welfare measures reach the people who truly need it. Critically analyse. (250 words)
Difficulty level: Tough
Reference: The Hindu
Why the question:
Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the 27% quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the All-India Quota seats for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and reiterated that reservations for backward classes were not an exception but an extension of the principle of equality under Article 15(1) of the Constitution.
Key Demand of the question:
To write about benefits of collecting caste-based data in census as well as the harms it might cause in light of the reality of Indian society.
Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.
Structure of the answer:
Begin by giving context of caste-based census in India.
In the first part, discuss the pros – lack of accurate data related to many affirmative action programmes of the government, helpful in the debate related to reservation policy, targeted poverty reduction programmes etc
Next, Discuss the cons – creates chasms within society, historical apprehensions when such data was used to further divide and rule policy, the reality of Indian society and the implications that it would have in a situation of trust deficit between communities, it would be a process of recording caste generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation.
Based on above arguments give a fair and balanced view as conclusion.