ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Was the Mandal Commission Right? Differences in Living Standards between Social Groups

Affirmative action has been at the heart of public policy towards the socially disadvantaged in India. Compensatory discrimination policies adopted for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes since independence are now available to Other Backward Classes. This paper examines why the obcs have lower living standards, as measured by per capita household consumption expenditures, relative to the mainstream population, and whether these reasons are similar to those observed for scs and sts. It finds that while the causes of the gap in living standards for the obcs are broadly similar to those for the scs and sts, the role of educational attainment in explaining the gap is particularly important for the obcs.

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