Focuses on affirmative action programmes in India for people belonging to the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes in the sphere of employment. The constitutional safeguards and the measures initiated to give effect to them are briefly reviewed. Examines the progress achieved in realizing the goals in terms of the fulfilment of the quotas (i.e. reservation targets) and discusses the problems in implementing the affirmative programmes. The extremely complex Indian experience sheds light on various unique measures initiated to give effect to public policy concerning affirmative action programmes. It affords many lessons for other countries wishing to pursue similar objectives.