Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The substitution of caste by economic criteria will not only reverse the modest gains made in affirmative action so far but also deepen structural inequality. Critically examine.

Topic: Social empowerment

1. The substitution of caste by economic criteria will not only reverse the modest gains made in affirmative action so far but also deepen structural inequality. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Early last month, the Supreme Court of India upheld the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, which had introduced 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS). The EWS quota and the Court judgment that followed have shifted the discussion on the legacy of affirmative action based on caste in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about impact of using income as a criterion for determining affirmative action.

Directive word: 

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:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part, objective behind affirmative action/reservation in India – To rectify the past and historical injustice against the backward classes in India. To ensure that equal representation can be seen from people belonging to all castes in the services under the state and centre. To provide an equal platform for everyone irrespective of their caste etc.

Next, write about how introduction of economic criteria for reservation, instead of caste will affect the socially backward classes.

Next, give a counter dimension of the need of EWS reservation and the need to move away from caste-centric definition of backwardness.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on the issue.