The idea of reservation in the private sector arose in the Indian context almost entirely because of the drying up of employment opportunities in the government and public sector – negative growth in employment since 1995 and a significant increase of about 1.9 per cent annually in the organised private sector from 1995 to 2002. Till that time, there was practically no articulation of the idea, although on hindsight one wonders, as does Sukhadeo Thorat – the senior editor of the volume – in one of the four of his articles included in the collection, as to why the private sector was excluded from the reservation ambit in the first place, when it was included long before in the framework of affirmative action in the USA. Clearly, the changing employment structure with contracting opportunities in the public sector and increasing opportunities in the private organised sector is the trigger.
This edited volume includes 43 articles grouped into six themes – Caste and Market Discrimination: Theory and Evidences; Reservation and Equal Opportunity Perspective; Reservation, Merit and Efficiency; Globalisation, Liberalisation and Reservation; Reservation and Politics of Caste; and Remedies against discrimination. In addition, the volume includes a foreword by Ghanshyam Shah as well as a lengthy summary of the debate by the editors.