Chapter 9: Caste-based Quotas: India’s Reservation Policies
9 Caste-based quotas: India’s reservations policies Rana Haq Introduction The 2001 Census of India recorded that India had crossed the one billion population mark, making it the second most populated country in the world, after China (Census of India, 2001). Both these countries have experienced unprecedented growth as a result of recent economic reforms and the removal of trade barriers. Consequently, they are increasingly drawing businesses from around the globe eager to tap into these booming consumer markets. Scholars too are interested in this growing phenomenon. However, Western business and management concepts are often challenged within the Asian context. The people of India are diverse in language, culture and religion since there are 28 states and seven Union Territories (Government of India, 2008) each with a distinct history, culture, cuisine, customs, official language, multiple dialects, religious beliefs and festivals. India’s diversity issues are primarily based upon intra-racial differences, unlike most Western countries, with high immigration patterns, which have workplace diversity issues based on inter-racial differences (Haq, 2004). For example, the hyphenated-American labels such as the AfricanAmericans, the Latin-Americans and the Asian-Americans, in the US, do not fit diversity concerns outside of the US context (Nishii and Özbilgin, 2007). Diversity issues in India are primarily based on religion. India’s affirmative action policies, commonly known as ‘reservations’, were established in the 1950 constitution as a temporary corrective process of compensatory positive discrimination to address centuries of past injustices and repression based on class and status arising from the traditional Hindu caste system....
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