Author: Alistair Mcmillan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195672143
The Indian Constitution has made special provisions for the electoral representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, members of social groups seen to be at the lowest rungs of socio-economic and ritual hierarchy. The reservation of a number of constituencies from which only they can contest elections is intended to place these otherwise marginalized groups in the highest levels of elected government.
This book examines the principles and practice of this mode of group representation, both in the historical context in which it was introduced and the current dynamics of the system of electoral politics. It looks at the motivation behind such measures and attempts an assessment of its impact on the political system and the structure of socio-economic inequality.
By analysing unique survey data and the social and institutional contexts in which reservation operates in India, Alistair McMillan shows how the SCs/STs continue to be discriminated against in socio-economic d evelopment and are also subjected to political manipulation by the process through which reserved constituencies are allotted. He argues that while electroral reservation has little impact on the voting patterns of SCs/STs, it exerts a negative influence on participation in general. The system does provide symbolic representation, but evidence for any real substantive benefit is limited.
Erudite and comprehensive, this volume will be of immense interest to scholars and students of politics, sociology, history, and Dalit studies. It will also appeal to NGOs, journalists, and policy-makers.
LIST OF TABLES
List of abbreviated sources and government command reports
PART I: Electoral Reservation in Colonial India
PART II: SCs and STs in Modern Politics