The Way Forward
In this chapter, Borooah pulls together the various threads of the preceding chapters. It begins by observing that many social groups in India—in particular, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and Muslims—are excluded from the mainstream of life and are underrepresented in many areas of public affairs. It then proceeds to expand on the concept of social exclusion and its relation to deprivation. In particular, it asks whether exclusion should be viewed in its own right as constituting deprivation or is exclusion to be deprecated only if it is instrumental in causing deprivation. In this chapter, Borooah argues that an important effect of social exclusion is that it erodes self-confidence and, thereby, impairs the life chances of persons belonging to excluded groups. An important aspect of public policy is, therefore, to build the confidence of such persons. But how is this to be done? The chapter argues that affirmative action policies are the wrong way to achieve this.
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