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

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Muslims, Affirmative Action and Secularism

Religion-based preferential treatment in the services of the state is generally argued to be in contradiction with secularism. As a result, the Indian state has relied on a non-preference, non-discrimination framework to address the issues of backwardness and under-representation of Muslims. This article attempts to partially reconcile the contradiction between religion-based preferential treatment and secularism, and it is argued that the determination of welfare policies for religious minorities, particularly Muslims within the non-preference, non-determination framework, either has to be justified in the public philosophy of the state or social justice has to be given a relative preference to secularism, especially when the policies formulated within the non-preference, non-discrimination framework have not proven to be effective in targeting the relative backwardness of Muslims.

Is the Aspirational Districts Programme Merely A Political Device?

As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections approach, the Modi government’s failure to fulfil the promise of development is gaining more attention. The Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme, launched in early 2018, is now being promoted in order to salvage the government’s reputation on this account. An ambitious programme, launched after the dissolution of the Planning Commission and in the age of the NITI Aayog, it is not merely a political device. The programme also reflects what has become of the development project in India under neoliberalism, especially after the end of planning. This article comments on some of the programmatic strengths and weaknesses of the Aspirational Districts programme alongside its approach to and discourse of development.
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