The Reservation System in India - An evaluation of political reservation and poverty reduction -
Retna, Serena Kirubai
Upon Indian independence, the Indian government's legitimacy became closely tied with its ability to integrate the large historically marginalized population into the mainstream Indian political institutions. Even before independence, Indian leaders started advocating for preferential treatment for groups that had experienced economic and socio-political discrimination based on the caste system. The 1950 Indian Constitution mandated representation for the marginalized groups in the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Over the years, amendments to the Constitution expanded the requirements for minority representation in state and local governments, known as the Reservation System.This paper looks at effectiveness of the political Reservation System by looking at the correlation between democratic representation and the reduction of poverty among historically oppressed groups. The study indicates political representation for the Scheduled groups is correlated with increased poverty levels. However, land ownership and government expenditure on development are correlated with the reduction in poverty levels. Surprisingly, the state's GDP has little impact on the poverty levels.
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