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Title: United Progressive Alliance (2004-14), equality of opportunity and Muslims : a paradigm shift or political pragmatism?
Author: Kim, Heewon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 8502
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation examines the record of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA, 2004-14) government in India in its efforts to promote better equality of opportunity for religious minorities with special reference to Muslims. In order to address the concerns of religious minorities, especially disadvantaged Muslims, the UPA administration introduced new policies, administrative innovations and executive actions to deliver substantive equality of opportunity in a regime of 'competing equalities' for backward and disadvantaged castes. Conventional political science explanations of the UPA's shortcomings on these policies, this thesis argues, offer only a limited understanding. A more comprehensive account needs to combine a historical reading of how minority rights have been framed within the Indian Constitution, how they have evolved in practice as a result of institutionalisation and path dependence, and a policy analysis of the UPA government's performance. Taking this as its point of departure, the thesis develops an institutional policy analysis approach which combines historical institutionalism (and path dependence) and policy analysis with a particular emphasis on the policy process. It provides detailed case studies of the policy process in three areas: Muslims and public sector employment; the provision of service delivery for Muslim communities; and the efforts to create a new legislative framework against communal violence. By drawing on extensive official sources and in-depth interviews with key policymakers, the institutional policy analysis approach, it is suggested, offers a more rounded approach to why UPA's policies were thwarted than hitherto. Although the UPA's policies on religious minorities, especially Muslims, held the promise of delivering substantive equality of opportunity, institutionalised resistance to such change from backward and disadvantaged caste lobbies, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the allied forces of Hindutva, and the civil service and the judiciary reestablished the familiar pattern of path dependence and reinforced the limited understanding of minority rights during constitution-making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral