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On Backwardness And Fair Access To Higher Education In India: Some Results From Nss 55th Round Surveys 1999-2000

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  • K. SUNDARAM

    (Delhi School of Economics)

Abstract

Against the backdrop of policy of reservation of seats in Higher Education for the Other Backward Castes in India, this paper examines two inter-related yet distinct issues: (i) the use of economic criteria for assessing the backwardness of different social groups and (ii) assessment of fairness of access to higher education of an identified “backward” social group. On an analysis of the NSS 55th Round Surveys for 1999-2000 we show that on a range of economic criteria there is a clear hierarchy across (essentially) caste-based social groups with the Scheduled Castes (in Urban India) and the Scheduled Tribes (in Rural India) at the bottom, the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in the middle and the non-SC/ST Others at the top. However, for the poor among them, there is more of a continuum across caste-groups with surprisingly small differences between the OBCs and the non-SC/ST Others. On the issue of fair access to higher education, it is argued that the extent of under-(or over-) representation of a social group can only be judged by a comparison of a social group’s share in enrollments in a given level of education with its share in the population eligible for entry into that level of education. And it is shown that for the OBCs as a group, and especially for over 70 percent of them who are above the poverty line, the extent of under-representation of the OBCs in enrollments at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels is less than 5 percent. We conclude, therefore, that a 27 percent quota for the OBCs, which would effectively raise their share in enrollments to over 50 percent when their share in the eligible population is 30 percent or less, is totally unjustified.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 151.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:151

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Keywords: India; Social Groups; Backwardness; Poverty; Caste-based Reservations; Fair Access to Higher Education.;

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Cited by:
  1. Reddy, A Amarender, 2013. "Rural transformation since 1970s in Dokur Village of Andhra Pradesh, India," MPRA Paper 30784, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Nov 2013.
  2. Ashish Singh, 2011. "Farm income inequality and the role of caste: new evidence from India," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(4), pages 2847-2862.
  3. Singh, Ashish, 2010. "Does returns to farming depend on Caste? New evidence from India," MPRA Paper 26526, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Sujoy Chakravarty & E. Somanathan, 2008. "Discrimination in an elite labour market? Job placements at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 08-01, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  5. Basant, Rakesh & Sen Gitanjali, . "Who Participates in Higher Education in India? Rethinking the Role of Affirmative Action," IIMA Working Papers WP2009-11-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.

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