Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rethinking Social Justice Remedies

This is a certainly thought-provoking, although not completely novel, presentation by Yogendra Yadav in Mysore. It is a reprise of a talk he gave previously on the same subject, and was covered on this blog. Yadav's central theme is spot on -- there has been great intellectual paralysis in discussing social justice remedies in India. It is stunning that, although almost two decades have passed since the Indian economy opened-up, social justice and affirmative action has been exclusively focussed on reservations in government jobs ignoring the new hierarchies of social exclusion in the private and non-governmental sectors. I'm personally against mandatory quotas for private companies. But we urgently need more imaginative approaches, such as tax and financial incentives, that encourage private entities, both large and small, to voluntarily embrace social inclusion and diversity.

4 comments:

Sushant said...

I feel that the whole rhetoric of "social justice" is kind of overrated. However, it is vague enough to be minted in different fashion by the politicians and social justice activists.

"Social Justice" by the very name means that we are trying to correct unjust practices in the society. Often people point out the poverty in different regions of India to support this. It is possible that there are huge amount of bad practices that India has seen or is still going on. I have not seen it and I have no idea of its extent.

However, I have seen poverty and lack of development across so many basic utilities like water, sanitation, health care and education. And so I feel that the real talk should be about how we can provide these to all parts of India. It is possible that government is restricted by how much money it can spend. Or whether it can spend it efficiently without corruption.


I am off course not very knowledgeable to have strong opinions on this issue. And may be I am too naive. But I would surely like to know whether my thoughts have any ground. May be some replies to this or in a separate post.

ravi srinivas said...

Yogendra Yadav's suggestions would mean more state control over private sector and private institutions. In the name of fine-tuning it will be more of the same in a different name. Equality will be further diminished through equal opportunity commission(s) and
by linking facilities from state with implementation of affirmative action through quotas etc.It is social engineering in the name of
social justice. Inclusion and diversity are nice sounding words
and in a country like India they mean different things to different people. Thackerys can also argue that their idiom is the same although it is couched in different terms. The only difference is Thackerys are too
blunt while these social justicewallahs are careful with words. The end result is the same,
state control or control by third
party in matters like employment,
access to education and jobs and
giving up the principle of equality for good, for the sake of social justice or some other idea.

Prasad said...

I cant even imagine this. Already the country is suffering with a sluggish minded student population who worry more about reservations and quota issues. This Social Justice driven agenda will be the last nail in the coffin of Indian democracy

arun said...

I fail to understand why our 'intelligentsia' refuses to break from their 'social justice' mentality. Why it has to always be in the terms of caste, rural urban,rich, poor, gender etc. Cant it just be better health, better infrastructure, more aggressive development and equality of opportunity for all? Instead of the intellectual thinking dictating the political thinking its the other way round in India.Its high time we give more importance to increasing the size of the cake then on who gets what?