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

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Dominant or Backward?

Political Economy of Demand for Quotas by Jats, Patels, and Marathas

Using data from the India Human Development Survey, this paper examines the demands of Jats (Haryana), Patels (Gujarat), and Marathas (Maharashtra) to be classified as Other Backward Classes to access reservations. Compared to the major caste groups (Brahmins, other forward castes, existing OBCs, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) in their respective states, based on several socio-economic factors, they are closer to dominant than disadvantaged groups. Their claim to backwardness is empirically unjustified. The paper examines the material basis of their anxieties in the context of structural changes in the Indian agricultural economy. It investigates networks and political connections that explain their success in mobilising.

We would like to thank Guilhem Cassan, Francesca Jensenius, Anirban Kar, Anirban Mitra, and Rohini Somanathan for their suggestions and comments. We are also grateful to conference participants at Yale University; Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi; International School of Business, Hyderabad; World Bank-International Economic Association “Roundtable on Inequality,” Jordan; Political Economy of India Workshop, Universitè de Namur; and the Centre for Development Economics—Centre for Competitive Advantage in Global Economy; and the University of Warwick workshop “Political Economy and  Development” where earlier versions of this paper were presented, for their suggestions and useful comments. We are responsible for all remaining errors and omissions.

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Updated On : 31st Oct, 2023
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