Recently, Social Attitudes Research for India (SARI) surveyed the country investigating about view and opinions of people in cities, towns, and villages about reservations. Do they support reservation? While responses and opinions vary in various social categories, it is evident that there is more support for reservation among people from reserved categories. Similarly, while analyzing opposition to reservation by social categories, there is highest opposition among general caste respondents and lowest opposition among respondents from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Scheduled Castes (SC).
Does this mean that educated and well-to-do communities do not support government provisions for people from marginalized groups for adequate representation in public and social spheres?
The opposition lies in concession given to people from reserved categories in exams and in interviews. There is a widespread discontentment that seats in schools, colleges and jobs should be allocated on the basis of “merit”. But this view blatantly overlooks and ignores the disadvantages that people from backward, lower classes included in reserved categories face in going to school or getting an employment. The people from lower background face confidence issues in interviews because of economic, social and cultural environment they are nurtured in.
Some say that opposition to reservation lies in their belief in equality. However, reservation is a policy tool that does not undermine equality but that promotes it.
Finally, there are people oppose reservations because they feel that it should be based on income or economic basis than social basis which has lost much of its significance 70 years after Independence.
Affirmative action is used in many countries to try to overcome human prejudice based on religion, ethnicity, gender, race, caste or any other group identity.