US Supreme Court strikes down ‘Affirmative Action’

Context
The Supreme Court of the United States of America has decided to strike down race-consciousness in college admissions and mentioned that ‘race’ can no longer be considered as a factor in university admissions.
  • This decision marks a departure from long-standing US policies on “affirmative action”, also known as positive discrimination, and has ignited widespread debate.
What is an Affirmative action?
  • Affirmative action is a policy aimed at addressing historical prejudices against individuals from certain identity groups.
  • Specifically, in the context of higher education, affirmative action refers to admissions practices that seek to increase the representation of Black, Hispanic and other minority students in colleges and universities.
  • The objective of implementing race-conscious admissions policies is to foster diversity among students, with the aim of enhancing the overall educational experience.
Why such rules were made?
  • Affirmative action or Reservation policies seek to rectify historical discrimination and promote inclusivity in educational institutions.
  • The intention is to create a level playing field by considering various aspects of an applicant’s profile, including their race or social background, in order to address systemic disadvantages faced by certain groups.
  • Affirmative action and reservation systems serve as tools to promote equal representation and opportunities for historically-marginalised communities.
How Affirmative action does relate to India?
  • Affirmative action in the United States has been compared to the reservation system in India, as both are controversial topics in their respective countries.
  • In India, reservations were introduced in the constitution shortly after independence, with the aim of acknowledging historical injustices faced by backward groups and providing them with improved access to resources and opportunities.
Does it is required in present times?
  • The majority of lower castes and marginalised groups have stepped up the social ladder and are now on an equal status compared to the general population.
  • Hence, there is no need for reservation anymore.
  • A reservation only provides a limited and short-term solution to the historical injustice issues.
  • Reservation is obviously a tool to address social and educational backwardness; however, it does not have solutions for all social and economic ailments.
  • There are much better and innovative ways to solve those issues. However, reservation prevents the leadership to come up with viable solutions.
Concerns related to reservation system in India:
  • Castes that should be actually benefitted are not being benefitted; instead, others are reaping the benefits of the reservation system.
  • The reservation system has just become an instrument for politicians to gain vote banks.
Where does India need improvement?
  • India’s definition of ‘other backward classes (OBCs)’ includes both non-Dalit Hindu communities (castes) as well as socially and educationally laggard Muslim communities.
  • India’s Supreme Court has already ruled in favour of OBC quotas but cautioned against its “creamy layer” usurping it.
  • Measurement of creamy layers: That is where the executive administration needs to strike a balance between the principles of the legislature (political) and the judiciary. In simple terms, we need to revisit the idea of affirmative action time and again to calibrate policies and measure outcomes.
Conclusion:
  • The exploitation has not been stopped, feeling of alienation by the section of society, has only gone worse thus, reservation is the only silver lining in this dark sky.
  • Yes, there is a section of people facing injustice and is under a shadow even today because they don’t have anyone to speak for them, the data should be rectified and we should check who needs the reservation.
  • Today the reservation has been made as a political agenda and politicians are using this as a vote bank and after sitting on that powerful chair, they pay nothing as a return to the people.
  • However, the need is to maintain the rights and justice both for the people.

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