A special lecture on Social Inclusion in Independent India was delivered by renowned social scientist Prof. T K Oommen on 20th January 2015 at the Dr. Ambedkar Auditorium, University of Hyderabad (UoH). Prof. E. Haribabu, Pro Vice-Chancellor presided over the lecture.
Prof T.K. Oommen speaking to a packed audience of students, faculty and staff said Social Inclusion is an idea. The term ‘social exclusion’ and ‘social inclusion’ are two terms most widely used in recent years by politicians, social scientists and the public as well. The term social inclusion originated in French social policy in the 1970s. He also spoke about the social, political and economic rights. Prof. Oommen then explained about the different dimensions and approaches of the policy engagement with social inclusion that are indispensable for achieving faster, inclusive and more sustainable development in contemporary India.
Prof T. K. Oommen then spoke in detail about social exclusion and inclusive policies with reference to nine excluded social categories in India – Dalits, Adivasis, backward classes, religious and linguistic minorities, women, migrants, the poor and the disabled and made a strong case for category-wise inclusion policy in India.
He then discussed the various forms of social and economic exclusion (discrimination and marginalisation) that persist in contemporary India, and how they may be remedied. He also argued that a welfare state can be created by securing social, economic and political justice for the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and further argues that inclusive growth and human development can be achieved only by ensuring equality of status and opportunity for the vulnerable sections of society. He suggests affirmative action/positive discrimination—reservation of seats in education institutions and reservation in jobs—that may be adopted to build a more inclusive society.
Prof. T. K. Oommen is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has authored many books and is also a Padmabhushan awardee.