ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Environment and Styles of Development

parison which the survey undertakes implies that the recipient of justice in society is a caste and not an individual. This concept might have been justified at a time when all the economic and social criteria of backwardness pointed to the same group. But with the economic change that has been taking place in our country in the last few decades, each caste is getting split into different class groups and the economic and social criteria of backwardness point, many a time, in different directions. The emphasis on statistical averages for whole castes suggests that whenever any particular backward caste shows percentages of literates or of school enrolment which is better than average those for the whole population, it will have to be eliminated from the list of castes getting government protection, it being assumed that the more fortunate individuals in that caste who have benefited from government measures will look after their less fortunate brethren. Even if the government does not follow this policy, such a demand may be expected to be made by other backward castes. The importance given to statistical averages is likely to create jealousies and rancour among different backward castes and might even lead to commu nal trouble. Social scientists cannot absolve themselves of the responsibility of analysing the implications of such measures of social justice and their effect on society. It is to be hoped that the Department of Sociology of Education of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Indian Council of Social Science Research, which have sponsored the national study, approach this task in a more fundamental and systematic manner so that the reports which are to follow this monograph may be useful in evolving more effective policies for helping the backward sections of the community.

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