This issue comes up many times, in many places, under the topic heading affirmative action. It is a heavily contested idea, with the main critique being that it is anti-meritocracy, and risks creating new problems for the supported group, with people assuming they will be less able in a given role or position than average.
However, there are really at least two kinds of affirmative action. That aimed at permanent equal representation of different groups. And that aimed at correcting historic inclusion, and breaking barriers for groups to enter roles.
The latter is well illustrated by the engagement of women in the UK government. All-women shortlists were vigorously opposed. But by getting a core group of women MPs, issues like lack of women's toilets that actively made things more difficult, and lack of childcare options and late sittings that less directly made it harder for women, had to be addressed. A temporary measure, can bring about permanent change - correcting historic exclusion, on the presumption the drivers of that exclusion have been or are being removed.
The former kind of affirmative action is well illustrated by the Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Harvard decided there was a disproportionate number of students with Asian heritage on some courses, and chose to make admissions tougher for such students. In the UK this kind of discrimination would be illegal, because of how the law is framed - protected characteristics can only be a 'tie breaker'. The US supreme court has decided not to hear the Harvard case.
The issue, in particular of Dalits, is both of historic exclusion, and continuing discrimination. It is interesting to look at the early phase of the British East India Company, against the Marathas - they were very close to defeating the Mughals then. Maratha rules required Dalits to wear bibs for stray spittle & avoid casting a shadow on others, while moving through non-Dalit communities. That kind of racism (Dalits were generally of immigrant heritage, with no caste because of that, so 'untouchable'), allowed the East India company to recruit a large body of Indians from the Maratha side, and gain early military advantage.
Cultural practices against Dalits are still extremely strong, with many wealthier people having a horror of cleaning their own toilets, which goes way beyond hygiene into issues of 'ritual purity'. The story of Arunachalam Muruganantham nicely embodies the issues, and the consequences.
I love being in India. It's so incredibly varied, & just, amazing, and sometimes infuriating. A huge part of that is the sheer depth of cultural momentum. Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, defies simple classification as a religion. It has many of the aspects of Confucianism, as philosophy, ritual practice, & social order. But, racism is a massive problem. And Delhi in particular, is a terrifying place for women to live. The change on exclusion has to be from within the cultural framework, which Ghandi embodied. Dalits will become Buddhists, or Muslims, if a path is not found.
Varna was imposed as a category on many who had never been categorised by it, by the British. And interacts messily with family and clan politics. Once the need for change is accepted, it has to be instituted. Affirmative action has a place in that, forcing glass ceilings to be removed. It can't can't fix the drivers of exclusion and discrimination though, that has to come from elsewhere, from cultural change.