The Source Document(s) for Article 30(1)


In a previous article, we had seen how the initial Draft versions of the Indian Constitution prepared by Dr K M Munshi had guaranteed a very different form of educational rights to its citizens. It was based on the Polish Treaty of World War I and proposed explicit, and equal, educational rights to all communities.

3. Citizens belonging to national minorities in a State whether based on religion or language have equal rights with other citizens in forming, controlling and administering at their own expense charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments with the free use of their language and practice of their religion”

However, when this section was referred to the Minorities sub-committee of the Constituent Assembly, what came out was a completely different avatar of this right.

“All minorities, whether of religion, community or language, shall be free in any unit to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, and they shall be entitled to State aid in the same manner and measure as is given to similar State-aided institutions”

Looking at this drastic transformation, the key question that arises, naturally, is – what is the reference for this altogether-transformed Article?

Minorities Committee of the Second Round Table Conference

Between 1930-32, three round table conferences were arranged by the British Government to discuss Constitutional reforms in India. Out of the three, the maximum representation from the Indian side happened in the second round table conference that took place at London between September and December of 1931.

The majority of the work in this conference was done by two sub-committees – Federal Structure and Minorities.

The Minorities sub-committee was a fairly large committee and was chaired by Ramsay MacDonald. The prominent members of this committee were M K Gandhi, Dr B R Ambedkar, Dr MM Malaviya and HH The Aga Khan.

This committee met on the 28th of September, 1st and 8th of October and then on the 13th of November 1931 for the final time.

The main “stakeholders” of this committee were the Muslims, Indian Christians, Depressed Classes (Dalits), Anglo-Indians and Europeans.

Between the last two meetings of this committee i.e. between the 8th of October 1931 and 13th of November 1931, a lot of separate meetings were held by the various communities involved. The covering note submitted by the chairman of the committee on 18th November 1931 records the fact that a lot of “private negotiations” took place in the time between these two meetings.

Two key developments took place in this interval

  1. Various communities came up with their own memorandum to be submitted to the Minorities sub-committee.
  2. Although an overall consensus on minority rights could not be arrived at, the group of Muslims, Indian Christians, Depressed Classes, Anglo-Indians and Europeans came up with an “agreement” which they presented to the committee for acceptance. However, this agreement was not acceptable to the Hindu and Sikh representatives.

Memorandum on the Claims of Indian Christians

On October 20th 1931, Rao Bahadur K T Pannir Selvam submitted a short memorandum to the committee to be considered as the demands of the Indian Christian community.

Along with a few observations on the role played by Gandhi on this issue, the note placed forth three main demands from the Christian community. The third of the demand, which is relevant to this post, is produced below

“3. Persons belonging to any religion shall have a right to establish, manage and control at their own expense, charitable, religious and social institutions, schools, and other educational establishments, with the right to exercise their religion therein; and where specific sums of money from public funds, as set out in the State budget, or in the Budget of local or other public authorities, are to be devoted to education, religion, or philanthrophy, a due share in the use and enjoyment of such sums shall be secured to these institutions as well”

Joint Agreement by Representatives of many Minority Communities

On the 13th of November 1931, during the final meeting of the Minorities Committee, a joint delegation of Muslims, Indian Christians, Depressed Classes, Anglo-Indians and Europeans came up with an “agreement” which they presented to the committee for acceptance.

The agreement was signed by the leader of each community that agreed with the settlement. HH The Aga Khan (Muslims), Dr B R Ambedkar (Depressed Classes), Rao Bahadur Pannir Selvam (Indian Christians), Sir Henry Gidney (Anglo-Indians) and Sir Hubert Carr (Europeans) were the signatories.

In this agreement, there were 11 different clauses for protection of minority rights. The clause of relevance to this post – clause number 4 – is reproduced below.

“4. The right to establish, manage and control, at their own expense, charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments with the right to exercise their religion therein”

At the end of this agreement, an explanatory memorandum was added. The last point in this memorandum stated the following.

“7. The proposals may be taken as being acceptable to well over 115 millions of people, or about 46 percent, of the population of India”


  • Even a casual observation of Clause #4 in the joint agreement submitted to the Minorities Committee reveals that this particular statement is the source from which the Draft Constitution of 1947-50 derived its Article on Educational Rights.
  • The particular Clause #4 itself was in turn derived from the memorandum submitted by the Indian Christian representatives in the second round table conference. The version of the clause in the memorandum actually asked for “equal rights for all religions”. However, in the joint agreement version, that particular phrase was left out.
  • Originally, these rights were meant to be enjoyed by minorities, a group which also included the ‘Depressed Classes’ or the ‘Dalits’. This is clearly established by the participation, and signature, of Dr B R Ambedkar who represented the Dalits in the conference.
  • The concluding note in the agreement which states that these rights would be applicable to over 46% of India’s (then) population also clearly highlights that the definition of minorities under which these rights applied, including the backward classes amongst Hindus.

Adding on what I had stated in an earlier article highlighting Dr B R Ambedkar’s explanation of the term ‘minorities’ in the Constituent Assembly, the above details clearly establish that Educational Rights in Independent India were NOT meant to be restricted to just religious and linguistic minorities but also included the backward classes as well as racial minorities.


  1. Speeches and Documents on the Indian Constitution – Sir Maurice Gwyer and A Appadorai, Oxford University Press, 1957
  2. Indian Round Table Conference, Proceedings of the Federal Structure Committee and Minorities Committee (Volume 1), GOI, Central Publication Branch
  3. Appendices III and VIII – Indian Round Table Conference, Proceedings of the Federal Structure Committee and Minorities Committee (Volume 3), GOI, Central Publication Branch

SC Medical Colleges Case: Reasonable Grounds for Fear of Bias?

A lot many articles have been written in the past week or so on the developments in the Supreme Court of India with regard to the petition by CJAR seeking the constitution of an SIT to monitor an investigation into a medical college scam. Two excellent articles that must be read in this regard are here and here.

In this present post, I would like to discuss a little about the theoretical grounds for the ‘bias’ that is being feared, due to which the recusal of the CJI was being sought in the petition.

Extrajudicial source doctrine

In many countries, and especially so in the United States, the doctrine of ‘extrajudicial source’ is applied whenever a situation arises where the recusal of a judge is sought for. The principle generally followed is that the judge does recuse from a matter if the possibility of bias arises from an ‘extrajudicial source’.

The concept of ‘extrajudicial source’ has been described well in the matter of Johnson v Trueblood 629 F.2d 287 in United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. It says

“Extrajudicial bias refers to a bias that is not derived from the evidence or conduct of the parties that the judge observes in the course of the proceedings”

The origin of the doctrine itself can be traced to Berger vs United States 255 US 22 (1921).

According to this doctrine judges may be disqualified from a case only if the possibility of their bias arises from an extrajudicial source.

In the present case, the situation is not that the matter filed by CJAR was either heard earlier by the judges whose recusal was being sought. Nor is it the case that either the same or related matter was heard earlier and an appeal was being made. In either of such situations, the test of extrajudicial source of bias fails and there would have been no grounds for seeking recusal.

However, in the present case, the possibility of bias is being derived from an FIR filed by the CBI, in which there is a mention about the offenders (named in the FIR) having declared that they are working on “getting the matter favorably settled” in the highest court of the land. Given this fact, the recusal of some of the judges who were hearing the medical cases matter was being sought.

Hence the grounds for fearing bias, in the present case, clearly is derived from an extrajudicial source.

In the present case, both the 5-judge Constitutional Bench that annulled the orders of Justice Chelameshwar and Justice Nazeer, and the subsequent 3-judge bench that dismissed the petition placed far too much reliance on the observations of the SC in the ‘D.C Saxena vs Hon’ble CJI” matter.

In the cited case, the matter of the petitioner was dismissed summarily, following which he filed a writ petition against the CJI alleging bias and sought various remedies including removal of the CJI. The petitioner demanded, during the pendency of his petition, that the CJI not constitute any benches nor allocate work.

It was in response to this absurd demand that the observations of the Constitutional powers of the CJI were made. And clearly, in that matter, the source of the bias was NOT extrajudicial, since it was clearly connected to the dismissed matter of the petitioner.

However, in the present case, like highlighted earlier, the source of the bias that was feared was clearly from an altogether different matter – the CBI FIR and the pointers therein to the pending case before a bench of the SC.

Applicability for administrative matters

This question has been explained very well by Sri Gautam Bhatia in the article cited above. Hence I will not delve into this in any detail. Clearly, there is sufficient ground, due to the setup of the Supreme Court and the powers of the CJI, for fearing possibility of bias even on the administrative side of matters. Hence the request was made.

Such matters have been encountered earlier on administrative issues on the executive side. The general inclination seems to be towards treating administrative and judicial decisions on par in such matters. For e.g. in ‘Administrative Law’, Wade and Forsyth state

..this distinction has long been a vexed issue but submit that it is now clear that in accordance with general principle, the same approach to bias should be adopted to
both administrative and judicial decisions

While the reference in the above cited work is intended towards administrative matter bias in executive and other organs of the Government, there is no reason to deny its applicability in the present case, for the administrative side of things in the SC.

Reasonable Observer Test

In many countries, a ‘reasonable observer’ test is applied to determine whether bias that is feared has a genuine basis or not. If this particular test is passed, then there is sufficient ground to consider that the possibility of bias exists.

The basic premise here is that the reasons being quoted for fearing bias must appear to be valid to a ‘reasonable observer’. Many countries have their own definitions of who is a ‘reasonable observer’.

In Australian jurisprudence, the test is defined thus

whether a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend that the judge might not bring an impartial and unprejudiced mind to the resolution of the question the judge is required to decide

According to Canadian law, the bias must be apprehended by

the reasonable, informed, practical and realistic person who considers the matter in some detail

Irish case law mandates that

(a) reasonable and fair-minded observer must apprehend bias on the part of the

From these definitions, the concept of a reasonable observer becomes quite evident.

In the present case, to arrive at a decision whether a ‘reasonable observer’ can apprehend bias, we need to look at some of the statements in the CBI FIR.

…who assured to get the matter settled in the Apex Court through their contacts…

…and they further engaged….(persons named)….for getting the matter settled in the Apex Court”

However he demanded huge gratification for inducing the public servants by corrupt and illegal means…

The above statements seem to have been the basis for the request for recusal made as part of the petition. The question is – does it cause grounds for fearing bias to any ‘reasonable observer’?

Again, one must remember that it is sufficient for a *possibility* of bias to be apprehended in order to request a recusal. Obviously whether or not there is any truth at all in these allegations is a totally different matter.

Attempts at Core1 Prior to the Debates in the Constituent Assembly


Before proceeding further with this article, it would be better if the following two articles are read, and their context understood.

  1. The initial version of Article 30(1) proposed by one of the key members of the Constituent Assembly Experts Committee
  2. The modifications that happened to (the eventual) Article 30(1) before it was officially included as part of the *final* Draft Constitution of India.

The deliberations before the Constituent Assembly debates

The Draft Constitution of India, as finalised by the Drafting Committee was submitted to the President of the Constituent Assembly on February 21, 1948. This version of the Draft had included all the modifications and recommendations given by the various sub-committees of the Constituent Assembly.

Copies of this Draft were circulated widely throughout the country, and feedback and suggestions were sought. Between February and October of 1948, various comments were received. To discuss and make good use of these comments, the Drafting Committee, and then A Special Committee, met in March and April of 1948 respectively.

In October 1948, the Drafting Committee met again and finalised the version of the Draft Constitution that would be placed in the Constituent Assembly for thorough discussion and passing.

In each of the above meetings, the ‘Constitutional Adviser’ had taken detailed notes and recommendations. These notes officially reflected the views of the Drafting Committee and/or the Special Committee. Hence these notes are very valuable in understanding the position of the Constitution makers on various issues.

Version of Article 30(1) placed before public for feedback

The version of Draft Article 23(3)(a) – that eventually became Article 30(1) – which was put forth for feedback and review was as below.

All minorities whether based on religion, community or or language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”

It was upon this version of the Article that various members provided feedback during February-October 1948.

Amendments sought in the Draft Article 30(1)

A list of the amendments sought in this Article, and also the official notes prepared by the Constitutional Adviser, reveals the mindset of the Constitution makers on this important provision.

Amendment moved by B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya and 6 others

That in article 23, clause (2) and sub-clauses (a) and (b) of clause (3), after the word religion, the words “caste, creed” be inserted

This amendment was not accepted but the official reasoning given was as below

Note: The term “community”  would seem wide enough to include “caste” and “creed” would seem to be covered by “religion”. The amendment therefore would seem to be unnecessary”

It becomes extremely clear from the words of the Drafting Committee that caste, which is a unique feature of Hindu religion, was very much meant to be considered in this provision. Therefore, the benefit of this right for minorities within the Hindu religion was also very much intended to be provided.

Amendments moved by Jaya Prakash Narayan:

Jaya Prakash Narayan moved two amendments, which reveal a completely #Core mindset.

  1. The Article must completely drop the benefit for religious minorities
  2. Another sub-clause must be included which reads as – “Denominational and communal educational institutions are forbidden except for the purposes of the study of religion and oriental learning”

Sri Jaya Prakash Narayan submitted the following as the reason for moving the two amendments.

Secularization of general education is necessary for the growth of national outlook and unity

The Drafting Committee did not accept these two recommendations indicating that a change of policy would be needed, and also indicated that the promised benefit to Anglo-Indian community would not be possible if this change was accepted.

Note: This amendment involved a question of policy”


Two very important conclusions can be drawn from these proposed amendments, and the responses of the Drafting Committee to these amendments.

  1. Several members of the Constituent Assembly made sincere attempts to secularise this particular provision in the Constitution and make it uniform across all religions thus ensuring no untoward disadvantage for Hindus.
  2. The Drafting Committee did see the applicability of Article 30(1) for ‘minorities within the Hindu religion’ as seen by their response to the inclusion of ‘castes’ as a denomination.


  • The Framing of India’s Constitution – A Study – by B Shiva Rao and Others
  • The Framing of India’s Constitution – Select Documents Vol IV – by B Shiva Rao and Others

The ‘Core’ Judgement in Re Kerala Education Bill

As part of a short discussion on a previous article on Twitter, a reference to the dissenting judgement of Justice Venkatarama Aiyar in ‘Re Kerala Education Bill vs Unknown’ came up.

Since that dissenting judgement has many aspects in line with the #Core1 approach, this article attempts to highlight the various views of Justice Aiyar, along with short notes (where needed) and relevant portions of his judgement.

(Notes are made as bullet points. Portions of judgement quoted in italics)

Minority institutions have no inherent right under Article 30(1) for recognition from the Government

  • There is no inherent right embedded in Article 30(1) that mandates a Government to grant recognition to a minority institution
  • Under Article 30(1), both purely-religious and secular institutions can be opened. If such a right of recognition is accepted, it then means that the Government has to mandatorily recognise purely religious schools, which goes against the stated goal of the Constitution to be secular. Hence no such right can be read into Article 30(1)

“The educational institutions protected by Art. 30(1) might impart purely religious
instruction. Indeed, it seems likely that it is such institutions that are primarily intended to be protected by Art. 30(1). Now, to compel the State to recognise those institutions would conflict with the fundamental concept on which the Constitution is framed that the State should be secular in character. If institutions which give only religious education can have no right to compel recognition by the State under Art. 30(1), how could educational institutions established by minorities and imparting secular education be held to possess that right ?”

Policy behind Article 30(1) is to ensure the ‘majority’ do not destroy the ‘minority’

  • The main purpose behind Article 30(1) was to ensure that the majority in a State do not impair the rights of the (religious and linguistic) minorities
  • Meant to aid minorities to preserve and develop their own culture
  • The State cannot prevent minorities from establishing educational institutions

But what is the policy behind Art. 30(1) ? As I conceive it, it is that it should not be in the power of the majority in a State to destroy or to impair the rights of the minorities, religious or linguistic. That is a policy which permeates all modern Constitutions, and its purpose is to encourage individuals to preserve and develop their own distinct culture..

In other words, the minorities should have the right to live, and should be allowed by the State to live, their own cultural life as regards religion or language. That is the true scope of the right conferred under Art. 30(1), and the obligation of the State in relation thereto is purely negative. It cannot prohibit the establishment of such institutions, and it should not interfere with the administration of such institutions by the minorities

Article 30(1) is a shield for minorities and not a sword against the majority

  • Meant to be used be minorities to protect themselves from any attack by the majority.
  • Not meant to be used to compel the majority to grant concessions (such as recognition, exemption from laws, etc)

The true intention of that Article is to equip minorities with a shield whereby they could defend themselves against attacks by majorities, religious or linguistic, and not to arm them with a sword whereby they could compel the majorities to grant concessions

Summary of State’s position vis-a-vis Article 30(1)

(1) The State is under a positive obligation to give equal treatment in the matter of aid or recognition to all educational institutions, including those of the minorities, religious or linguistic.
(2) The State is under a negative obligation as regards those institutions, not to prohibit their establishment or to interfere with their administration

Exemption from certain provisions/laws will lead to discrimination

  • If unstated provisions are read into Article 30(1), a reverse discrimination will ensue
  • This is because there will be laws which the majority will be forced to comply while the minorities stand exempted

While recognised institutions of the majority communities will be subject to clause (20), similar institutions of minority communities falling within Art. 30(1) will not be subject to it. The former cannot collect fees, while the latter can. This surely is discrimination

No ground for a more favoured position for minorities

In my opinion, there is no justification for putting on Art. 30(1) a construction which would put the minorities in a more favoured position than the majority communities”


With the advantage, now, of being able to look back at this critical segment of Education – we can confidently state that the dissenting judgement of Justice Venkatarama Aiyar was indeed the correct approach on issues related to Article 30(1). While it completely upholds the protection offered to minority institutions, it nevertheless recognises that the purpose of Article 30(1) was only limited to ensuring that the minorities are treated on par with the majority, and not with the intention of according any special privileges.

The fear of reverse discrimination that J Aiyar expresses has, as we all now know, come true!

The Original Form of Article 30

In an earlier article, I had blogged about the evolution of the Cultural and Educational Rights of the Minorities in the Indian Constitution in the form of Articles 29 and 30. In that post, I had covered the modifications that the relevant Articles underwent from the time the first draft of the would-be Articles was prepared by the Minorities Sub-Committee of the Constituent Assembly.

However, the genesis for the two Articles lay in the Draft Constitution prepared by various members of the Constituent Assembly. Many members, including B N Rau, Harnam Singh, K T Shah and others had their own ‘Drafts’, which contributed to the development of the various parts of the Constitution that was eventually adopted.

One such Draft Constitution was prepared by K M Munshi, who was one of the key members of the Committee that drafted the Constitution of India. K M Munshi was also a key member of several sub-committees such as the Order of Business Committee and the Experts Committee.

In the draft prepared by K M Munshi, Article XII covered the Religious and Cultural Rights of Citizens. This Article had 11 sub-articles.

Sub-article 3 of this Article is what eventually evolved into Article 30(1) of our Constitution. The entire text of Article XII (3) is as below.

Article XII(3) of K M Munshi’s Draft Constitution of 1947

3. Citizens belonging to national minorities in a State whether based on religion or language have equal rights with other citizens in forming, controlling and administering at their own expense charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments with the free use of their language and practice of their religion”

It is quite clear from the above text that the intention was to grant equal rights to all citizens irrespective of whether they belonged to the majority or the minority.

What is also interesting is that the wording of the above sub-article is extremely similar to articles in the Constitutions of several countries that were created by the Allied Powers immediately after the World War I. In fact, K M Munshi clearly indicated this to the Advisory Committee on April 22, 1947 that the minority rights contained in the Polish Treaty of 1919 was the basis for some of the minority related rights incorporated in the Draft Constitution.

The specific provision of minority rights in the Polish Treaty (and subsequently in the Polish Constitution) is as follows.

Article 8 of the Versailles Minorities Treaty of 1919

Art. 8. Polish nationals who belong to racial, religious or linguistic minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as the other Polish nationals. In particular they shall have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their religion freely therein”

The similarity in the structure and language of the clauses in the Polish Treaty and K M Munshi’s Draft Constitution is obvious.

While the article in the Polish Treaty remained as-is, the sub-article in the Indian Draft Constitution underwent several modifications and became eventually what is today Article 30 – which grants more privileges to minorities, thus placing the majority on a lower pedestal with respect to educational rights.


  1. The Framing of India’s Constitution – A Study: B Shiva Rao and Others
  2. Pilgrimage to Freedom – Vol 1 – K M Munshi

Core2: Need for Equitable Distribution of Public Goods

(Reproduced as-is from

Among the many fallacies of the #IOI regime in India, the second most important issue that #TeamCore is concerned about is that of (un)equitable distribution of public goods and resources. In the #Core hierarchy, therefore, this issue is termed #Core2 (#Core1 refers to discrimination with regard to Educational Rights).

A crisp, and to the point, definition of #Core2 is given by @realitycheckind in his blog, which I reproduce below

Sectarian Purse: No 2 on Core Right is to preserve the secular nature of the public purse if you are to function as a coherent whole. The issue oddly, is not that the state spends on minority only issues like Haj where only minorities have an interest but on public goods like scholarships, schools, public works (MSDP), loans, etc. Areas where everyone has aspirations and interest. This is not to take away minority scholarships but to absorb the part into the whole. The idea is to have common public goods and ensure equitable distribution within the program. Not to run separate programs.

In this post, I am attempting to elaborate a little more on why the current, favorite, method of distributing public goods is flawed, and why there is a pressing need to implement #Core2.

The nature of ‘Benefit Programs’

When any Government intends to distribute a public good, there are 3 high level attributes of the benefit program or ‘scheme’ that is devised.

  • Public good/resource
  • Beneficiaries
  • Distribution criteria & methodology

While there could be programs that could cater to a specific segment or class of people, such as say a program to perform eye surgeries for blind people, or say funding artificial limbs for those military personnel or police personnel who lost their legs on duty — the programs that are of concern to us in this post are those in which the goods being distributed are necessarily public — commonly applicable — in nature.

To borrow the words of @realitycheckind again

…. public goods like scholarships, schools, public works (MSDP), loans, etc. Areas where everyone has aspirations and interest.

So these goods are the ones which every individual citizen aspires for — resources which if one obtains — he or she can carve out a better future for oneself. The list includes scholarships, infrastructure like roads, highways, lighting, power, financial support for business, hospital facilities and so on. In a sense, all citizens have an equal Right over these public goods.

At the same time, one unfortunate reality of these public goods are that they are NOT infinite. In almost every society, scarcity of resources is an unavoidable reality. In fact, the fundamental business of an economy is to manage the scarcity of resources in the most efficient manner!

Given this reality of resources being scarce — two key questions open up when setting up a benefit scheme:

  • Who qualifies to benefit?
  • On what basis does one lose?

#IOI approach of distribution

In the #IOI approach, both the questions — who gets the benefit — and who doesn’t — get answered at the first stage of allocation of the resource itself. This mindset translates to creation of specific ‘schemes’ for targeted communities even if the resource is public in nature.

A higher level ‘identity’ — for e.g. religion, caste or gender — is typically used as the highest level filter in the #IOI approach. Let’s call this the ‘Identity Based Filter’.

So, for e.g, the Government of India can come with a scheme for ‘Post Matric Scholarships for Minority Students’. Even before the exact nature of the resource is identified, the beneficiary list gets finalised — only those students belonging to minority communities can get the scholarships — and all students who belong to the majority community stand disqualified.

I purposely say that the filtering of beneficiaries happens before the exact resource is identified because in the very same scheme, the nature of the goods being distributed can be varied and it will have no effect on who qualifies (or doesn’t qualify). Today the scholarships could be actual money being handed over to the students. Tomorrow the scheme can be changed to a ‘fee waiver’. We can then have a fee/books/uniform voucher system on the third day. Irrespective of the actual good, the beneficiaries are pre-decided.

A significant feature of the #IOI model is that the ‘Identity based filter’ has no connection, whatsoever, with the public-good being distributed!!

Let us say the Government comes up with a scheme to provide street lights in localities where at least 50% of residents are retired military personnel. It does not matter if you live in a poor locality where roads are in bad condition and completely unlit — you will not get the benefit if your locality does not have 50% military retirees — a factor completely unconnected with the need for the resource (street lights).

Once this high level filtering has been done, the scheme itself typically has several secondary ‘elimination filters’ which further decide who amongst the qualifying set of people actually get the resource. By its very nature, these ‘elimination filters’ are connected with the goods/resources. For e.g. in the same hypothetical ‘street light’ scheme, there could be further conditions imposed to determine who do not get the benefit — say those streets which have at least 4 lights already— or those streets in which at least half the households have UPS connections — and so on.

Thus in the IOI approach, the ‘Identity Based Filter’ is applied during allocation and the ‘Elimination Filter’ is applied during distribution.

#Core2 approach of distribution

In contrast with the #IOI approach — the two questions of who gets the resource — and who doesn’t — get answered only in the resource distribution stage of the scheme. Due to this, the programs constructed under this approach are by design ‘public schemes’.

For e.g. a ‘Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for All Students’. To start with, all students stand a chance to derive the benefit of this scheme.

In the #Core2 approach too, there are two types of ‘filtering’ that is possible. But it is inevitably the ‘Elimination Filters’ that are applied first. Some filters corresponding to the scholarship example.

  • Filter to identify the more needy — ‘All students who are in the Grade X or below do not qualify under this scheme’ — to ensure that the benefit is applicable to only post matric students
  • Filter to identify those who already have the resource — ‘All students whose parents’ income exceeds 3 lakh rupees per year’ — these students have an alternate source (own parents) for the equivalent amount.
  • Filter to identify repeat beneficiaries — ‘All students who already receive the benefit of another scholarship’ — to maximise the coverage of the beneficiaries
  • Filter to identify the undeserving — ‘All students who do not score 50% or more in their exams’

Depending upon the particular scheme — many such elimination filters could be devised — but even a cursory look shows that each filter is intricately connected with the resource being distributed.

Even in #Core2 an ‘Identity based filter’ could be used secondarily. But this filter will only work to ensure the resources are distributed ‘pro-rata’ amongst the beneficiaries. This filter will act as a limiting filter rather than an eliminating filter.

So for e.g. in the scholarships example, in order to ensure that children of all religions get a fair chance at the scholarship, there could be quotas for each religion, based on the overall population numbers.

Again, using the same street-light-scheme example, there could be a quota that states how many unlit roads need to be lit-up within each district of a given state.

Thus, in #Core2, three main approaches stand-out

  • Everyone who aspires for a resource has a chance to stake a claim
  • The eliminating factors are exercised first and all of them necessarily relate to the resource being distributed
  • A group or class identity could be used — but only as a limiting factor vis-a-vis other groups — and not as an eliminating factor

Contrast between #IOI and #Core2 approaches

Fairness: The very purpose of a ‘separate’ or ‘sectarian’ scheme is to show bias. It is to show favor to a particular group or class. The harvest expected could be electoral advantages, or even (unannounced) social transformation.

If a particular scheme does not carry any bias — for e.g — a separate scholarship scheme which gives the same amount as the general scheme and has a pro-rata budget — it is just a badly designed scheme! Or even worse, it is a scheme designed to fool the target community.

Hence a ‘normal’ #IOI scheme is inherently biased and discriminatory.

In contrast, the #Core2 scheme is naturally fair. The nature and unit of distribution of the resource HAS TO BE uniform for all beneficiaries. A general scheme in which a Hindu student will get twice the scholarship amount of a Christian student, for e.g, will simply not stand social or legal scrutiny. Hence fairness is automatically built-in.

Appeasement Opportunity: Sectarian schemes are very good instruments for appeasement of the target group. The budgetary requirements are much lesser than the general scheme — and the attention and scrutiny it is subject to — is far less. Further, since it is targeted at a particular group — it is natural for the beneficiary group to feel a sense of thankfulness towards those who devised the scheme.

If a sectarian scheme has a budget of say 200 crores and a general scheme of say 600 crores, it is far more easier to effect a 10% increase in the budget of the sectarian scheme as against a 10% hike in the general scheme budget. This coupled with the fact that the appeasement effect is higher, the chances of budget increases/relaxation of restrictions is much more likely in a sectarian scheme.

On the other hand, #Core2 schemes are that much more appeasement proof. Any additional benefit proposed to be added to the scheme will have to address all sections of the beneficiaries. The cost in terms of resource allocation and implementation is higher — which means there is bound to be more review and due-diligence. Naturally, this leads to better thought out changes to the scheme, and is therefore less prone to misuse (for appeasement).

Categorization: The big challenge in the #IOI approach is to determine the right ‘identity’ to create the sectarian schemes. Due to the complexity, and the amount of effort, involved in such exercises, only those identities which bring electoral advantages and/or hidden social transformation benefits are likely to be used. In India, this inevitably translates to religion, caste and gender based schemes.

There are many infrastructure schemes which have been launched in districts which have a minimum concentration of ‘minority religion’ citizens — programs like MSDP and sub-schemes under JNURM. However, the connect between religion and economic status is a very weak one.

Let us say, a survey was conducted amongst all construction labourers in urban India, it is very likely that a similar pattern with regard to economic status, lifestyle and access to infrastructure will emerge — irrespective of the religion of the labourer.

Or if a survey of less-educated migrant workers who are resident in a city for less than 5 years is conducted — their problems are likely to be similar to the ones that led to MSDP and other schemes — irrespective of their religion.

There is no end to the number and types of classification that can be done — to arrive at the same criteria — that will warrant a dedicated scheme. Hence creation of such schemes will ONLY be attempted when there is an electoral or hidden social transformation benefit.

#Core2 methodology has no such misuse potential.

Redistribution: In the #IOI approach, if there is a shortfall of beneficiaries under a particular category, the only way to still utilize the allocated resource is to relax the elimination criteria and grant the benefit to lesser deserving beneficiaries.

For e.g. if under our hypothetical street light scheme for military retirees, if the target was to cover 100 streets, each of which had less than 4 street lights already — but during execution it was determined that there are only 90 such streets — the remaining lights have to necessarily go to streets which have 4 or more street lights.

In contrast, the #Core2 approach tends itself to always favor the ‘most deserving’ beneficiaries. In the same example, if a particular district has fewer streets which pass the ‘less than 4 street lights’ criterion, the excess budget can simply be routed to another district where there are more such streets.

Resentment: Even if the beneficiaries of the generic and sectarian schemes are handed out the same type and amount of resource, the creation of a separate scheme is bound to cause huge resentment amongst those who fall under the general scheme.

Consider a mother who has two kids. She feeds one kid personally — holding the child on her lap — and spoon feeding it. On the other hand, she asks the second kid to help himself to a meal kept in the kitchen. Even though the same preparation is being consumed by both kids, it is a no-brainer that the second kid will resent such treatment, and in fact may develop hatred towards the sibling.

The #IOI approach is bound to cause social unrest in the long-run. Needless to say, the #Core2 approach, being fair and non-discriminatory, will lead to no such resentment.