Reservation Vs Merit – UPSC GS2

Context: Supreme Court ruled in favour of extending reservation to OBCs in All India quota (AIQ) of seats in admission to undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses.
What is All India Quota?
  • It is a quota that has been implemented since 1986. It is envisaged as a domicile-free quota to access medical education in all colleges in the country. It consists of 15% of undergraduate medical seats and dental seats, and 50% of postgraduate seats. These seats were surrendered by states for admission through a central pool.
  • In 2007, courts allowed the introduction of 15% reservation for SC’s and 7.5% reservation for STs.
Why is reservation important?
Reservation ensures that backward classes can avail opportunities that typically evade them because of structural barriers.
SC Ruling:
  • A 27% quota for other backward classes has been introduced in all India quota.
  • Courts ruled that affirmative action is vital for substantive equality.
  • Formal equality, the principle that everyone competes on equal footing, is inadequate to address social inequalities and inherent disadvantages faced by less privileged sections.
  • It does not enable equal opportunity for those competing without the aid of social and cultural capital, inherited skills, and early access to quality schooling.
  • Also, Good performance in examination is not the sole criteria of merit.

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