Sociologist Christophe Jaffrelot in his article (The Indian Express, 10th Feb) explores the BJP’s upper caste vote bank and the present government’s efforts to thwart the democratizing effects of the Mandal I and Mandal II. By shedding light on the proportion of upper caste ministers and members of parliament in BJP vis-à-vis other parties, Jaffrelot connects the threads of massive privatization, lateral entry provision in higher echelons of civil services, reservation for economically weaker sections and undermining social justice by appealing to the upper caste constituency.
A study by IIT-Delhi (excerpt published in the ToI, 19th Feb), shows that upper caste village are twice as likely to get secondary schools than the SC/ST counterparts. Using the decennial census data, the study shows that the public schools are necessary for improving literacy rates among the bottom rung of the spectrum. However, due to systemic caste bias, secondary schools are most often built in dominant caste villages than in the ones where Dalits and Adivasis are a majority.
RTI data (between 2015 and 2019) shows that the Dalits and Adivasis are under-represented in IIT Madras and IIT Bombay’s(The Hindu, 14th& 15th Feb) doctoral programmes. The rate of acceptance for the Adivasis and Dalits in these institutes were way below the rate of acceptance for General category applicants, the data reveals.
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