Social Science Baha

Understanding and Pattern of Implementation of Affirmative Action Policy in Nepal: An Analysis

Yam Bahadur Kisan

Affirmative Action is a recently entered policy discourse in Nepal and it has been applied only since a few years. The policymakers and enforcement agents/agencies of the state are not entirely clear about the concept, measures, and methods of effective implementation yet. The whole idea of affirmative action policy comprises of three major parts, namely, preferential treatment, remedial treatment, and compensatory treatment policy. However, in Nepal, understanding of the concept of affirmative action has been attached only with preferential treatment which relates to physical quota reservation of public service sectors. Non-material and psychological components which constitute major parts of affirmative action policy have been left out of the discourse. Additionally, many questions against it have risen in the name of merit, effective service delivery, continuation of discrimination and deprivation, taking away benefits from elites and the creation of new “creamy layer class” within the marginalised groups.

This paper has tried to accumulate and analyse the comprehensive approaches, functioning method, parts, and questions related to this concept in the Nepalese context. My argument in this paper is that affirmative action policy always functions within top-down approach. It is also beneficial for the elites and traditionally “creamy layer class” within all marginalised groups and there is not enough room for benefits for extremely marginalised and people from the underclass. It also creates new “creamy layer groups” within the marginalised. However, as I recently found in  a preliminary study, it seeks better capacity and better person among the same group, and compensatory measures could help reduce the error of elite-oriented method of implementation.