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

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OBC Reservations in Higher Education

The "other backward classes" were never subject to the kind of discrimination and the practice of social ostracism that SCs and STs were subject to. Also, the OBCs are already somewhat adequately represented in the Indian Institutes of Management and the universities.

Are They Worth All the Turmoil? SEBASTIAN MORRIS

R eservations for other backward classes (OBCs) are being sought on the ground of their social and educational backwardness. Reservations for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) were also justified on this ground, but social discrimination (historical and vestigial) against them was the crucial factor. But SC/ST reservations have not worked at the elite institutional level. Even today, SCs and STs constitute barely 7-8 per cent of the applicants to the common admission test of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Exceptions apart, there are notable differences between the grades obtained, as also the placement of such students. In my own courses at IIM Ahmedabad, I have noted a consistent two sigma or more difference between the performance of SC/ST and other candidates. Attendant economic, social and especially earlier-level educational factors continue to be adverse for SCs and STs, despite over 50 years of reservations. Major programmes like land reform and compulsory primary (and secondary education), which could have overcome the endowments problem, were not pursued.

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