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Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action Essay
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  Affirmative action in India is practiced in the form of reservation policy with a structured quota system for public jobs and higher government educational institutes, existing with the intention to cater to disadvantaged sections of the society. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution. The heart behind the adoption of positive affirmation in 1950 was to uplift the scheduled groups  –   mainly the tribal adivasis and the dalits through a quota for jobs and education. However, today, only a small section of the scheduled groups has prospered and an estimated 1% of the two groups falls into the highest wealth bracket (calculated as four times above the poverty line), according to a recent study. The srcinal intent of upliftment has paved inroads to vote bank politics in the country. As a group, we are not in favor of ISB implementing positive affirmation in the current form of reservation or quota system. We root for this position primarily on the basis that reserving seats at post graduate level will only lead to compromised skilled forces in the society. We believe that the upliftment of the disadvantaged sections needs to be worked out from the primary levels of education. Inclusive programs intended to work through the core years of education will bring about competency in the groups. Fixing the system through quota system in higher education, right before the individual starts making contributions to the society, will only promote mediocrity and incompetence in the society. For instance, if I am getting operated upon, all I want is a skilled surgeon who can save my life. Closer to home, in the business world, if I am entrusting my hard earned life savings with an investment banker, it is only fair that I am  provided talented services for the money I am shelling out. There should be no room for  incompetence in this set up. If a person is not competent before entering ISB, we doubt if fixing seats for him in a yearlong business school will raise his competencies. At a more philosophical level, we do not agree that two wrongs make a right. Brahmins once unfairly treated the dalits, the descendants of those dalits, some of whom may now enjoy high income and social status, have a right to opportunities over more competent Brahmin applicants, who had nothing to do with the discrimination, and who may have even suffered hardship compared to the dalits. Reservation system creates a hierarchy for the oppressed. Scheduled tribes and dalits get preferential treatment, women second, religious minorities third and so on until Hindu Indian males, no matter what their background is, they must accept the leftovers. The compensation argument advocates that since the privileged stole rights from the disadvantaged in the past, it is only fair that we rightfully restore their opportunities by the privileged themselves taking a hit for some time. This is probably the sturdiest argument for affirmative action, and it may well call for some forms of actions such as distributing scholarships and bursaries, but we are not sure if they justify the quota system. We do not know if the world were fair, how many of the same group would have achieved a given standard of competence. More importantly, we  believe that people should be treated according to merits, as ends in themselves, rather than as means to social ends. We ought to treat individuals with dignity and not a means to social policy. In its current set up, ISB has been applying softer positive affirmations such as releasing  bursaries for the economic disadvantaged sections, policies meant to increase opportunities of such sections to attend the school. ISB uses diversity or under representation of groups as a method when the candidates applying for the seat have similar candidature. We support this  policy of ISB enabling a system of equal opportunity to compete in. Essentially, what we do not  agree to is fixing the result in itself, which is allocating an x percentage of seats in a school without evaluating the candidature. Raising skilled, competent and ethical workforce for the highest positions in diverse industries in the country is what ISB is focused on. ISB is rigorous in its agenda to take in competent students from diverse backgrounds. Slapping reservations to this agenda would only corrupt what good ISB is creating in the society.
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