The following article that came in the news today reminded me once again of this old idea.
The Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the 50% ceiling on reservation fixed nearly 30 years ago by a nine-judge SC bench required reconsideration by an 11-judge bench as 70-80% of the population belonged to backward classes and it would be unfair to deny them proportionate reservation.
The current system in India for selecting people from the university/college level onwards is to conduct intense, extremely stressful competitive exams, rank all the participants and allow them choice of branch or job based on their rank. But, the total positions are partitioned beforehand based on caste. Needless to say, this causes a huge amount of social friction, immense amounts of stress and many cases of burnout and suicides.
An immensely better way to implement affirmative action is to have competency exams instead of competitive exams. A competency exam is designed to ensure that a person who achieves more than the passing score, is very likely to have the necessary background preparation or competency required for the position being applied for.
Since there will always be far more competent candidates than the positions available, ALL passing candidates are admitted into a pool of eligible candidates and from this pool, candidates are selected at RANDOM.
The laws of statistics, in particular the law of large numbers, will automatically ensure that candidates are selected proportionate to their caste representation in the general population. The same system will also automatically ensure that people belonging to marginalized groups other than caste are also proportionately represented, such as gender, wealth/family income, etc. Also, all the social friction and needless stress is eliminated.