March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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THE AMBEDKAR TOUCH IN RETHINKING SOCIAL JUSTICE POLICIES

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THE CONTEXT: There arise differences between Ambedkar’s expectations and the current situations of the marginalized communities of India under the rise of neoliberalism. Thus, there is a call for a redefined social justice framework aligned with Ambedkar’s principles, emphasizing inclusive integration into the economic order for marginalized groups.

ABOUT MODERN DEMOCRACY:

  • Modern democracy is synonymous with both the values of social harmony and reforms that ensure dignity and self-respect to its participants, especially the historically deprived and socially marginalised people.
  • Further, democratic institutions are mandated to engage with the worst-off social groups and ensure their substantive participation as a significant governing class in political affairs.
  • The socially oppressed groups in India, especially Dalits, adored and celebrated such modern virtues because of their liberative potential and egalitarian goals.
  • Though the mechanism of social justice is not radical and transformative, it provides moral sensibilities to institutions and makes it responsible towards the diverse population.

ISSUES:

  • Neo-liberal Impact: Neo-liberal market is alien to the concept of social justice and celebrates the exclusive control of few corporate bodies and businessmen over capitalist development. Neo-liberal economic development has disrupted traditional support for Dalits and Adivasis from state institutions and their concerns has been neglected.
  • Tokenistic presence: Various sectors witness the dominance of social elites, perpetuating the control of the conventional ruling class. In this scenario, socially marginalized groups experience tokenistic representation in power and privileges.
  • Little impact of government policies: Though various political regimes vouch to implement social justice policies, this has little impact in ensuring the significant participation of the marginalized social groups in the domain of power.
  • Exploitative impact: In the neo liberal market, there is distancing of the market from social responsibilities. It leads to neglect towards the aspirations and the demands of Dalits and Adivasis which make market enterprise more exploitative and closer to a crony capitalist mode. This version of the market economy needs reforms.
  • Contrast views with Ambedkar: Ambedkar looked upon the modern state as the key transformative force for the emancipation of Dalits and Adivasis. However, in the neo-liberal realm, the state has been converted as the passive associate of big business that readily deviates from its social responsibilities and welfarist values.

AMBEDKAR VISION:

  • Babasaheb Ambedkar emerged as a torchbearer of liberal enlightened ideas and expected that post-colonial India would be distinct from the exploitative Brahmanical past. He invited Dalits and other marginalised communities to be equal shareholders in the nation’s economic and political development.
  • R. Ambedkar’s principles of social justice would disapprove the current realm of neo-liberal economy for its neglect of the concerns of Dalits and Adivasis. It would direct the market to be more responsible towards the marginalized groups.
  • It would also direct the state to reduce the pitfalls and slippages now in social justice policies and make them more relevant in the present day.
  • Ambedkar becomes crucial in such a discourse because his approach allows us to diagnose illnesses in the social and economic order. He offers ethical corrective measures to make institutions more democratic, representative and closer to the claims and the desires of marginalised social groups.

THE WAY FORWARD

  • Implementing Policies: There is a need for adoption of affirmative policies to empower Dalit and Adivasi groups as industrialists, market leaders, and influencers. For which there is a need for expansion of social justice policies to the private economy for democratizing working classes and reducing poverty.
  • Inclusivity of marginalized groups: There is a need for integration of Dalits and Adivasis as influential contributors to the market economy. This can make marginalised groups an integral part of the new economic order by reducing their perpetual subjugation as a passive exploited class. Dalits and Adivasis should not be identified only as the poor and migrant working class that is dependent upon the benevolence of corporate social responsibility for their livelihood. Instead, these groups should be advanced as the essential components of urbanisation, industrial production and technological innovations.
  • Inculcating Ambedkar’s vision: Adopting Ambedkar’s version of social justice would help to redefine capitalism as a pluralist and cooperative mode of economic order. It can guarantees the participation of Dalits and Adivasis in the market economy and in the associated institutions of power and privileges.
  • Marginalised groups as influential arbitrators: Marginalised groups concerns to protect their habitats, ecological order and cultural autonomy must be addressed, while endorsing the fact about the market economy’s inevitability. Therefore, it is necessary that the current phase of economic development and the expansion of the market economy should also be directed toward making marginalized as influential arbitrators in the neo-liberal discourse.

THE CONCLUSION:

Neo liberal economic model has significant impact on the marginalized groups that is in contrast to vision of Ambedkar’s vision of social justice. The leaders of the market economy should be educated to adopt welfarist measures for the marginalized groups to make them integral to economic development.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS

Q.1 There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food-budget – Elucidate. (2019)

Q.2 Multiplicity of various commissions for the vulnerable sections of the society leads to problems of overlapping jurisdiction and duplication of functions. Is it better to merge all commissions into an umbrella Human Rights Commission? Argue your case. (2018)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTIONS

Q.1 With the ascent of neo-liberal economic development, the conventional support that Dalits and Adivasis have received from state institutions has derailed. In this context, assess the impact of the neo-liberal economic model on social justice policies.

Q.2 Evaluate Ambedkar’s vision for making the neo liberal economic model more democratic and representative to address the concern of neglect of marginalized groups.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-ambedkar-touch-in-rethinking-social-justice-policies/article67608373.ece

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