India has just passed a law mandating affirmative action quotas for lower castes. The BBC reports:
The Indian government has decided to implement a controversial affirmative action plan despite ongoing protests.
Under the plan, half of state—funded professional college places would go to lower caste students.
After a meeting which ended late on Tuesday night, the Congress—led Indian government announced that a bill would be introduced in parliament.
The plan will come into effect in 2007. Those opposed to it say it will lead to a drop in college standards.
At present, 22.5% of college places are "reserved" for Dalits, or untouchables, who are at the bottom of India's caste hierarchy, and tribal students.
Under the new plan, 27% of places will also be set aside for lower caste Hindus known as other backward castes (OBCs) and other socially disadvantaged groups.
"The percentage of reservation for OBCs will be fixed at 27%," Defence Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after a three—hour meeting between the government and its allies.
"Legislation for this purpose will be brought in parliament in the monsoon session."
India's state—run medical system is currently convulsed with a strike by physicians and other medical staff who contend that affirmative action will inevitably lead to lowering standards of patient care.
The world continues its slide toward tribalism, patronage, and a spoils system.
Meanwhile, our friends in public radio are under attack over the failure of Milwaukee's leading NPR affiliate to have a single black staff member among the 28 white staffers. Critics fail to understand that liberals intend affirmative action to apply to the other guys, not themselves. They know what happens when merit stops being the criterion for employment.
Hat tip: Dennis Sevakis
Thomas Lifson 5 24 06
Update (hat tip: Lucianne.com) The University of Wisconsin demotes merit as a consideration in admissions:
The University of Wisconsin System is changing its admissions policies to consider race, income and other non—academic qualities of applicants with the explicit goal of boosting student diversity.
Until now, all campuses with the exception of UW—Madison have used set academic requirements such as grade point averages and test scores to make the majority of admissions decisions. The change means no student will be guaranteed admission to the system no matter how good his or her grade point average, test scores or class rank — although these measures will continue to carry the most weight. "There will be no automatic admission, even for top students," said Larry Rubin, the system's assistant vice president for academic and student services.