Reservation in India is the process of setting aside a certain percentage of seats (vacancies) in government institutions for members of backward and under-represented communities (defined primarily by caste and tribe). Reservation is a form of quota-based affirmative action. Reservation is governed by constitutional laws, statutory laws, and local rules and regulations. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution – with the object of ensuring a "level" playing field.The reservation system has received a mixed response from Indians since its inception. It has been praised for diminishing the gap between the upper and lower castes by allowing the latter to enjoy the further increased opportunities as the former in jobs, education and governance by alloting seats exclusively for them. It has also been criticised for discouraging a merit-based system and encouraging vote bank politics.