Social Science Baha

Equalizing Opportunities: Case for an Equal Opportunity Commission

N. R. Madhava Menon

Inequality and discrimination are vexed problems in societies aspiring for an egalitarian social order through democratic processes under rule of law.  A variety of affirmative action strategies including preferential discrimination in favour of marginalised people, reservation of seats in education and employment and equalizing opportunities through socio-economic planning are employed by countries which advanced the cause of equality in varying degrees.  Though reservation and affirmative action can mitigate extreme manifestations of inequality in income and status, long term results by way of equality in outcomes can happen only if equality of opportunities is achieved, particularly in education, health, housing, employment, and other basic needs.  Towards this end, an independent Equal Opportunities Commission with constitutional status will be enormously helpful.  Outlining the contours of such a Commission is the purpose of this paper.