Your search keywords:

The issue of inclusion in politics

The issue of inclusion in politics


The concept of the term ‘Inclusion’ is really very significant, democratic and justice-based in view of contemporary world politics. An affirmative action to eliminate and erase discrimination and oppression based on factors like class, caste (racial), region and gender, this social justice-based concept is recognized by world bodies like the United Nations as well as democratic-progressive political forces around the world.

South Asian scenario

This concept is very popular and resilient in South Asian politics because the aforementioned discrimination and oppression run deep in South Asian societies. Different South Asian countries have introduced a slew of legal provisions for bringing up their marginalized groups into the political mainstream through affirmative action (positive discrimination) resulting from reservation and representation systems. Indian democracy is one of the unique and welcoming examples of this kind.

Indian scenario

India has a long history of reservation system and affirmative action, introduced for mainstreaming of marginalized groups in the State architecture. India’s political history shows that a relatively weak regime of reservation system and affirmative action was in place even during the British rule. In 1979, the Mandal Commission gave some concrete recommendations to strengthen the regime, based on which the Modi 2.0 government further expanded the regime in 2019, ensuring 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections of the general category in educational institutions and government jobs.  At central government-funded higher education institutions in India, 22.5 percent of available seats are for students from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities—7.5 percent for STs and 15 percent for SCs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5 percent by including an additional 27 percent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs).

Nepali scenario

The issue of inclusion got legal and political recognition in Nepal mainly after the peoples’ revolution of the year 2006 through the Interim Parliament and the Interim Constitution of 2007 whereas the Constitution of Nepal 2015 institutionalized it. Articles 42, 50 and 283 of the 2015 Charter have ‘guaranteed’ the rights of marginalized communities for representation (inclusion) in different bodies and organs of the State. While some Acts are already in place for enforcing inclusion, some Bills are under consideration in the Parliament.

The yardstick

Let’s examine the Narendra Modi 3.0 government and the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government through the lens of inclusion. In India, a 72-member Council of Ministers has taken shape under Modi, comprising 30 full Cabinet ministers, six ministers of state with independent charge and 36 ministers of state. Seven of these ministers are women—two Cabinet ministers and five ministers of state, constituting about 10 percent of the Cabinet’s strength. Of the 72 Cabinet members, 42 are from marginalized communities (accounting for around 58 percent representation of the Cabinet) and 27 from OBCs, comprising 37.5 percent of the Cabinet. Five are from STs, comprising around 7 percent of the Cabinet and 10 are from SCs, accounting for about 14 percent of the Cabinet. 

Nepal’s Council of Ministers has 23 members—22 full Cabinet members and one Minister of State.

Gender-wise, five of the 23 members are women—two from Janajati communities and one each from Khas-Arya 1, Madhesi and Muslim communities—accounting, roughly, for 22 percent of the Cabinet. 

Ethnicity-wise, 11 of the 23 Cabinet members are from the Khas-Arya (ruling) community, constituting around 48 percent of the Cabinet, seven from Janjati communities (30 percent of the Cabinet) and four from Madhesi communities (around 17 percent) and one from the Muslim community (around 4 percent of the Cabinet). Notably, there’s no Dalit representation in the Cabinet.


Drawing a comparison between the two cabinets, we can say without hesitation that India’s Cabinet is more inclusive than Nepal’s. Members of marginalized communities account for more than half of the Indian Cabinet’s strength (58 percent), with all legally-recognized marginalized groups represented.

In the case of Nepal, there’s no Dalit representation in the Cabinet, which is totally unjust and inappropriate as well as politically and legally objectionable. Representation of Madhesi communities and women representation is quite low whereas the representation of the Khas-Arya community (the ruling caste group) is pretty high.

This, despite very positive and encouraging constitutional provisions vis-a-vis inclusion, thanks to a lack of full implementation of relevant provisions and political commitments. The Constitution talks about discrimination and oppression on the bases of class, caste (ethnicity), region and gender and envisages legal remedies for ensuring justice and equality. Top leadership of different political parties should have the will to implement relevant constitutional provisions and their own commitments to do away with discrimination and oppression.

Way forward 

World bodies like the United Nations have incorporated this important agenda in their policies, programs and actions. Moreover, discrimination and oppression is a political as well as a social agenda of class societies in general and multidimensional societies in particular. In today’s world, no political force can ignore or reject this agenda as it has gone global. It can be a source of conflict as well as a source of peace, harmony and social stability. The time has come for Nepal’s political leadership to choose between social conflict and social harmony. Time has come for our leadership to truly internalize the agenda and work for the protection of inclusive democracy and maintenance of peace, stability and social harmony in the country.

[email protected]