Monday, March 12, 2012

The Creamy Layer

If you read our other blogs, you know we have been looking closely at Affirmative Action in India. In India, there is a rigid system of quotas for Scheduled Class(SC), Scheduled Tribes(ST) and Other Backward Classes(OBC) for job openings. Traditionally disadvantaged groups compete against each other for set aside jobs in a fixed quota and then compete against the total population for non Affirmative Account positions. Advantaged groups cannot compete in the set-aside area.

For example, here is internet post for positions at the Food Corporation of India. FCI is a government run corporation that distributes farm commodities to poor Indians. FCI is responsbile for food secuirty in a country that used to have famine on a regular basis.

You can from the first recruitment advertisement that for Management Trainees: 23 positions are set aside for Scheduled Class and 12 for Scheduled Tribes. Example #1. Example #2 and Example #3.

India's strong commitment to Affirmative Action has helped many poor people who were stuck in poverty because of their caste or tribe. Many lower caste members have benefit greatly from affirmative action. They and their children have moved into the middle class.

The issue is their children who are now educated and middle class. Many of the children of protected classes have become highly placed government officials, movie stars, sports figures or military officers. They are called "the creamy layer". The creamy layer used to apply only to OBC (Other Backward Classes) but has come to mean any "rich" child of affirmative action.

When applying under an affirmative action program , participants must produce a non-creamy layer certificate. As India has prospered, the country has found it must exclude young people in the creamy layer to make sure affirmative action benefits those who are truly in need.


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