Equality: NBSE Class 11 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 5 answers

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Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 11 Political Science Chapter 5: Equality. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.


The chapter delves into the concept of equality, its various dimensions, and its application in different societal contexts. It begins by highlighting the existing inequalities in India, such as the literacy rate among different genders and social groups, and the economic disparity among various classes. The chapter emphasizes that equality does not imply absolute sameness among individuals but rather equal opportunities for all to develop their faculties.

It explores five principal dimensions of equality: Political, Civil or Legal, Social, Economic, and Gender Equality. Political equality refers to equal access to political rights for all citizens, while civil or legal equality emphasizes equal protection under the law. Social equality advocates for the absence of discrimination based on caste, race, or sex, and economic equality calls for equal pay for equal work and the right to work for all. Gender equality, or feminism, is the belief that women should have the same rights, power, and opportunities as men.

The chapter discusses affirmative action programs, such as reservation of seats for SCs, STs, and OBCs in government institutions and civil services, and the controversies surrounding these measures. It concludes with a discussion on the need for a serious rethinking about the policy of reservations, suggesting that the rationale should be economic backwardness rather than caste.

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Textual questions and answers

A. Long answer questions

1. Explain the meaning of the term ‘Equality’. Do you agree with the view that equality should mean “equality of opportunities” for all?

Answer: The term ‘Equality’ asserts the “Equal Standing” of all persons. It does not imply treating all people in an identical manner or absolute equality among people. By equality is meant that “equals ought to be treated alike in the respect in which they are equal.” The principle of equality lays emphasis on “impartiality.” It underlines that each individual should get “equal opportunities” to develop all his faculties. Nobody’s intellect or capability should remain undeveloped for want of proper opportunities. In the field of education, for example, equality would mean that everybody should have schooling. It does not mean that all children should be declared as passed without a test or all should be awarded equal marks. The principle of equal opportunities would simply mean “appropriate opportunities for all.”

I agree with the view that equality should mean “equality of opportunities” for all. This perspective ensures that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, has the chance to develop their skills and talents to the fullest extent. It is a principle that promotes fairness and justice, recognizing that while people are different in terms of their abilities and circumstances, they should all have the same opportunities to succeed.

2. What does Economic Equality mean? What are the various aspects of Economic Equality?
Inequalities ought to be reduced to the minimum and all have a right to the bare minimum and equal pay for equal work. Comment on this statement.

Answer: Economic Equality implies that inequalities ought to be reduced to the minimum. It is unacceptable for a system to continue widening the gap between the rich and the poor. Harold Laski stated, “nobody should possess such an amount of wealth as would make the State very largely an institution dominated by the owners of private property.” Political thinkers have spoken of “a tolerable range” within which wages and income can vary.

The various aspects of economic equality are as follows:

(i) Inequalities ought to be Reduced to the Minimum: We cannot approve of a system that continues to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

(ii) All Have a Right to Bare Minimum: One’s basic needs those of food, clothing and shelter should be satisfied. Economic equality implies that all should have the Right to Work. There should also be a system of Social Security (public, i.e., state assistance) in cases of unemployment, old age, etc.

(iii) Equal Pay for Equal Work: Another dimension of economic equality is that there should be equal pay for equal work. In relation to wages, there should not be any discrimination merely on the ground of sex.

3. What is meant by Affirmative Action? What is the main criticism against Affirmative Action?

Answer: Affirmative Action refers to measures taken to benefit women and disadvantaged sections of society. It includes reservation of seats in legislatures, in services, and in educational institutions. The objective of Affirmative Action is to ensure that these groups, which have been historically marginalized and disadvantaged, get equal opportunities for growth and development.

The main criticism against Affirmative Action is that it stands in the way of Meritocracy. Critics argue that it can lead to the selection of individuals based on their group identity rather than their individual merit. However, it is also argued that reservation is required so long as the structure of inequality exists. This is because the historical disadvantages faced by certain groups can create barriers that prevent them from competing on an equal footing, even when there are no explicit forms of discrimination. Therefore, Affirmative Action is seen as a necessary measure to level the playing field and promote equality.

B. Short answer questions

4. Comment on the statement that “varying needs of different classes of persons often require separate treatment, but discrimination, if any, should be based on rational ground.”

Answer: The principle behind the idea of Equality is that all persons should be treated alike both in privileges conferred and duties imposed. However, the varying needs of different classes of persons often require separate treatment. Some persons or a class of persons have a legitimate reason to be granted special concessions. For example, special educational institutions have to be provided for the disabled, blind, and deaf, and the sum spent on their education per child is much higher than that spent on the education of normal children. The elderly people have to spend a lot on health care and in meeting their diverse needs. Therefore, they are granted tax concessions. The banks also offer a higher rate of interest on fixed deposits to senior citizens. Such measures cannot be treated as violative of the principle of equality. But the discrimination, if any, must not be arbitrary; it should be based on some “real or rational ground.”

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7. Mention the following two ways in which Equality could be promoted:

(a) Absence of Privileges

Answer: Absence of Privileges, i.e., Equality before Law, is one way to promote equality. This means that all individuals, regardless of their social status or wealth, should be treated equally under the law. No one should have special privileges that exempt them from the law or give them undue advantage over others. Our Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, or sex, etc. Untouchability has been abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.

(b) Adequate Opportunities for all

Answer: Providing Adequate Opportunities for all is another way to promote equality. Positively speaking, equality implies that all persons should be given adequate opportunities for self-development. According to Laski, “the basic needs of all the members of society must be fulfilled.” Moreover, all must be provided with educational facilities so that nobody’s talent remained stunted.

C. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✓) the correct answer.

8. The correct view of Equality is:

Answer: (b) No person shall be ineligible for inclusion in electoral list on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.

9. Who among the following fought against social and political inequalities being practised against the Blacks in South Africa?

Answer: (a) Nelson Mandela

10. The leader of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to his death at Memphis in 1968 was:

Answer: (d) Martin Luther King, Jr.

11. Which of the following Declarations said, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”?

Answer: (d) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

Value-based question

Some political thinkers are of the opinion that it is a time to do a serious rethinking about the policy of reservations. They maintain that the ‘rationale’ of reservations should be ‘economic backwardness’ and not ‘the caste’. Do you agree with this view? Give reasons for your answer

Answer: I can see the merits in both perspectives regarding the policy of reservations. On one hand, the caste-based reservation system was initially implemented with the intention of rectifying historical injustices and social inequalities. It aimed to provide opportunities for those who had been systematically marginalized and denied access to resources and opportunities due to their caste. This system has indeed helped many individuals from lower castes to improve their social and economic status.

On the other hand, I also understand the argument that reservations should be based on economic backwardness rather than caste. This perspective argues that economic disadvantage can affect individuals from any caste, and therefore, the benefits of reservation should be extended to all those who are economically disadvantaged. This approach could potentially address the issue of poverty more directly and effectively.

However, it’s important to note that caste and economic status in India are often closely intertwined due to historical and systemic factors. Therefore, while shifting the focus of reservations to economic status might seem more equitable on the surface, it could potentially overlook the deep-seated social inequalities that are tied to caste.

Thus, while I see the merit in the argument for economic-based reservations, I believe that any changes to the current system should be made cautiously and with a thorough understanding of the complex interplay between caste and economic status in India. It might be more effective to have a dual system that considers both caste and economic status, rather than replacing one with the other.

Additional/extra questions and answers

1. What does the American Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776 state about equality?

Answer: The American Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776 states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

2. What did the National Assembly of France declare in 1789 regarding human beings?

Answer: The National Assembly of France declared in 1789 that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

3. How is global inequality illustrated?

Answer: Global inequality is illustrated by the stark differences between social classes, especially in regard to poverty and disease. Furthermore, the income disparity is highlighted by the fact that although the population of high-income countries is only about 15% of the world population, the citizens of these countries enjoy nearly four-fifths (79%) of the global national income.

4. What does the Census 2011 data reveal about literacy inequalities in India?

Answer: The Census 2011 data reveal significant literacy inequalities in India. It shows that male literacy was at 82%, while female literacy was notably lower, at about 65.5%. The literacy rate among Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) was even lower, further highlighting the inequalities in the education sector of the country.

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43. What are the potential repercussions of affirmative action policies?

Answer: The repercussions of affirmative action policies are manifold. On one hand, they are designed to correct past practices of discrimination and give disadvantaged groups a chance to participate fully in society. On the other hand, they can be seen as reverse discrimination, potentially creating resentment among those who feel they are being denied opportunities due to their race, caste or gender. There is also a concern that these policies could lead to a decrease in meritocracy, as positions may be awarded based on group identity rather than individual capability. Despite this, many argue that these policies are necessary to address systemic inequalities. As a note of caution, the growing demands for reservations by certain upper caste groups can potentially undermine the very objective of the affirmative action policies.

Additional/extra MCQs

1. On what date did the American Colonies declare their Independence?

A. July 4, 1776 B. June 4, 1776 C. July 4, 1777 D. June 4, 1777

Answer: A. July 4, 1776

2. What percentage of the world population lives in high-income countries according to the data?

A. 10% B. 15% C. 20% D. 25%

Answer: B. 15%

3. What percentage of the global national income do the citizens of high-income countries enjoy?

A. 65% B. 70% C. 75% D. 79%

Answer: D. 79%

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59. What percentage of seats are reserved for OBCs in civil services under the Government of India?

A. 10% B. 15% C. 20% D. 27%

Answer: D. 27%

60. Who has been demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions lately?

A. Women B. Minorities C. Upper castes’ leaders D. Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

Answer: C. Upper castes’ leaders

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