Affirmative Action

United Students is against extension of caste based reservations to OBCs [Other Backward Classes]. This is not to deny the continuing importance of caste in the Indian social order. We accept that there exist gross inequalities in the Indian society. But we don’t agree with the assessment that caste is the ONLY factor of deprivation in India. We believe that apart from caste considerations, economic conditions, sex, quality of primary education and regional imbalances are all significat factors of exclusion operating in our country.

After all, a child of x caste studying in a panchayat school in Jharkhand cannot be equated to a child of the same caste studying at an elite private institution in Delhi. A child, of whatever caste, who grows up in a metropolitan environment automatically has greater access and a better idea of his choices as compared to a child who has grown up in a poor rural or tribal community.And who can deny that in our society being a woman itself implies facing and surmounting myraid challenges, which seem to start operating from birth itself?

We envisage an affirmative action scheme which seeks to redress the various factors of exclusion working against an individual seeking admission to an institution of higher learning. We want affirmative action schemes to target the individual citizen rather than social groups. Caste based quotas seem to only perpetuate the notion of caste in society rather than weakening and eventually eliminating it as a factor, as envisaged by the Constitution.

US would like the government to undertake a thorough study of the usefulness of caste-based quotas since they were introduced in India. We would also like Affirmative Action schemes to be better designed and intrinsically fairer than flat caste-based quotas. In this connection we welcome the following Affirmative Action Schemes:  

1. Multiple Index Related Affirmative Action [MIRAA] - proposed by JNU academic Prof. Purushottam Agrawal, MIRAA awards points to applicants on the basis of their sex, caste, economic background, regional disparities, educational imbalances and their status of being a first generation learner. We believe that a scheme like this takes care of all the major factors of exclusion working in Indian society without compromising on the basic qualifications for pursuing a higher degree.
> Read the full proposal
> Download MIRAA [.rtf file - 60 KB, right click on link and select “save target as …”]
> Contact Prof. Purushottam Agrawal [author of MIRAA] 

2. Yadav-Deshpande model: Psephologist Yogendra Yadav and Sociologist Satish Deshpande have also given an alternative affirmative action scheme, purely for OBCs, which was first published in The Hindu.
> Read part 1
> Read part 2