SC-ST Quotas in Public Procurement

This article by Sukhdeo Thorat discusses the government’s decision to establish quotas for SC-ST entrepreneurs in procurement. It is an interesting refinement of traditional affirmative action arrangements, which have traditionally focused on quotas in educational institutions and in government jobs.

I suspect this measure will be upheld by our courts. At the same time, it is important this measure does not become a loop-hole for further corruption and malfeasance in government contracting. The policy may also have to be reconciled with the proposed public procurement bill, which has been released for public comment.

Finally, it is important to point out that Thorat’s otherwise interesting analysis ends on a sour note with its reference to the Malaysian Bhumiputra policies. It has been widely alleged that those policies have promoted thinly disguised racial discrimination against Chinese and other ethnic minorities.

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