This paper examines the relationships—and disjunctures—between social inclusion and affirmative action as policy frameworks to address multidimensional inequalities. Both concepts are currently circulating widely in the public sphere in Nepal, but there is a great deal of confusion about what ‘social inclusion’ in fact means, how it can be best implemented through policy measures, and how it is similar to/different from more well-understood but equally contentious concepts like affirmative action. The paper will provide a comparative framework for considering these issues drawing upon experience from various countries.