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

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Why Caste Matters

A response to “Caste and Electoral Outcomes: Misreading Hierarchy and the Illusion of Numbers” by Dipankar Gupta (EPW, 22 June 2019) analyses the continued role of caste as a medium in electoral politics and the function of caste identity.

Caste and Electoral Outcomes

Understanding the relation of caste and electoral outcomes merely in terms of arithmetic runs is fundamentally fallacious. It fails to factor in the element of mutual repulsion among castes and the multiplicity of hierarchies. Shift from caste as a system to caste as an identity makes caste-arithmetic explanations of election results all the more questionable.

New Reservation Policy

Is the reservation policy earmarking a 10% quota for the economically weaker sections of the “general category” empirically founded and justifiable? An analysis of 445 premier higher education institutions finds that this section of students already had about 28% of representation—that is, close to three times the proposed 10% quota—in these institutions in 2016–17. This finding raises questions as to the relevance and possible impact of the proposed policy.

Caste as Social Power

Intermediate caste groups like the Marathas in Maharashtra, Patidars in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra Pradesh, and Jats in Haryana have been up in arms against the state for not being inclusive enough and demanding Other Backward Class status, reservations in jobs, education, and politics, adequate financial allocations to respective caste corporations, and other economic incentives. It is important to understand the dynamics of intermediate castes in its specific context to explain the current moment of its mobilisation, militancy, and political positioning. The intricacies of an intermediate caste called Kapus in Andhra Pradesh are analysed based on several years of field research and doctoral work.

Why Are the Reserved Categories Objecting to the 13-point Roster?

An examination of the 13-point and 200-point roster systems for reservation of faculty positions in universities and colleges for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes shows the anamolies involved. It also shows the reasons for the meagre representation of reserved category candidates compared to their proportion in the population and the earmarked proportions of reservation.

Caste Discrimination in Higher Education

The death of Rohith Vemula once again triggered an intense debate on the prevalence of caste discrimination in higher education. Addressing the situation from a legal perspective, the shortcomings of the existing legal norms on caste discrimination become apparent, especially when compared with the regulations on ragging. Effective measures to overcome caste discrimination in higher education are then the need of the hour.

Class–Caste Differences in Access to Agricultural Credit in India

Looking at the class and caste differences in access to agricultural credit in India, it is seen that large proportions of farmers are still outside the fold of formal credit. Farmers from smaller farm-size class and socially marginalised castes face difficulty in accessing credit due to lower asset valuations, compounded by social discrimination. There is a need for asset creation and reorientation of the present agricultural credit policy for greater inclusiveness.

Caste Discrimination and Agricultural Performance in India

Using data from the Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households, this paper attempts to understand caste-based discrimination and differences in the performance of Indian agriculture by analysing caste-wise differences in various factors of input and output. The results show that disadvantages originating in caste-based discrimination make socially marginalised groups in agriculture end up with low access to resources, low levels of productivity, and low realisation of returns.

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