The Oxford India Short Introductions are concise, stimulating, and accessible guides to different aspects of India. Combining authoritative analysis, new ideas, and diverse perspectives, they discuss subjects which are topical yet enduring, as also emerging areas of study and debate. Affirmative action (AA) has been the topic of a highly polarized debate, in which it is either demonized as the root of all evil or valorized as the panacea for eliminating discrimination. This Short Introduction provides the rationale, details, and assessment of the AA programme in India. Itdiscusses the 'why' and 'how' of AA with glimpses into the history and dynamics of the programme, and offers a perspective on where India stands today, in terms of group disparities as well as the proposed remedies. Sketching out the larger context of and debates around this issue, the book assessesthe success of AA in providing socio-political and economic justice as well as its limitations. Drawing on the vast body of research on this subject, it provides leads for further reading to those interested in pursuing specific aspects of the issue.