Short Essay On Reservation In India
Not to be confused with Indian Reservation.
The system of reservation in India comprises a series of affirmative action measures, such as reserving access to seats in the various legislatures, to government jobs, and to enrollment in higher educational institutions. The societal inequality in India is represented by the grossly inadequate representation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes in employment and education due to historic, societal and cultural reasons. The reservation nourishes the historically disadvantaged castes and tribes, listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by the Government of India. The reservation is undertaken to address the historic oppression, inequality and discrimination faced by those communities and to give these communities a place. It is intended to realize the promise of equality enshrined in the Constitution. However, there has been a serious debate about reservation.
The Constitution prohibits untouchability under its Article 17, and obligates the state to make special provision for the betterment of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, also questions whether such special provisions of reservation would not be considered discriminatory, as it would encourage caste-discrimination and caste based politics.
Over the years, the categories for affirmative action have been expanded beyond the lists of Scheduled castes and tribes to include a special category of Other Backward Classes (OBC). Consideration has also been given to economically backward within the community itself in providing reservations.
Reservation is governed by constitutional laws, statutory laws, and local rules and regulations. The Scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), and in some states Backward Classes among Muslims under a category called BC(M), are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution – with the objective of ensuring a level playing field. However, in the recent years there have been complete Reservation Exclusion Agitations among some of the other general section of population due to a notion of denying them the access to full opportunity in the nation.
The primary objective of the present-day Indian reservation system is to enhance the social and educational status of underprivileged communities and thus improve their lives.[verification needed]
Quota systems favouring certain castes and other communities existed before independence in several areas of British India. Demands for various forms of positive discrimination had been made, for example, in 1882 and 1891.Shahu, the Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, introduced reservation in favour of non-Brahmin and backward classes, much of which came into force in 1902. He provided free education to everyone and opened several hostels to make it easier for them to receive it. He also tried to ensure that people thus educated were suitably employed, and he appealed both for a class-free India and the abolition of untouchability. His 1902 measures created 50 per cent reservation for backward communities.
The British Raj introduced elements of reservation in the Government of India Act of 1909 and there were many other measures put in place prior to independence. A significant one emerged from the Round Table Conference of June 1932, when the Prime Minister of Britain, Ramsay Macdonald, proposed the Communal Award, according to which separate representation was to be provided for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and Europeans. The depressed classes were assigned a number of seats to be filled by election from constituencies in which only they could vote, although they could also vote in other seats. The proposal was controversial: Mahatma Gandhi fasted in protest against it but many among the depressed classes, including their leader, B. R. Ambedkar, favoured it. After negotiations, Gandhi reached an agreement with Ambedkar to have a single Hindu electorate, with Dalits having seats reserved within it. Electorates for other religions, such as Islam and Sikhism, remained separate. This became known as the Poona Pact.
India's affirmative action programme was launched in 1950 and is the oldest such programme in the world.
After the independence of India in 1947 there were some major initiatives in favour of the Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
A common form of caste discrimination in India was the practice of untouchability. SCs were the primary targets of the practice, which was outlawed by the new Constitution of India.[a]
In 1954, the Ministry of Education suggested that 20 per cent of places should be reserved for the SCs and STs in educational institutions with a provision to relax minimum qualifying marks for admission by 5 per cent wherever required. In 1982, it was specified that 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes should be reserved for the SC and ST candidates, respectively.
A significant change began in 1978 when the Mandal Commission was established to assess the situation of the socially and educationally backward classes. The commission did not have exact population figures for the OBCs and so used data from the 1931 census, thus estimating the group's population at 52 per cent. In 1980 the commission's report recommended that a reserved quota for OBCs of 27 per cent should apply in respect of services and public sector bodies operated by the Union Government. It called for a similar change to admissions to institutes of higher education, except where states already had more generous requirements. It was not until the 1990s that the recommendations were implemented in Union Government jobs.
The Constitution of India states in article 15(4): "Nothing in [article 15] or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens of or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes." Article 46 of the Constitution states that "The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation."
The Supreme Court of India ruled in 1992 that reservations could not exceed 50 per cent, anything above which it judged would violate equal access as guaranteed by the Constitution. It thus put a cap on reservations. However, there are state laws that exceed this 50 per cent limit and these are under litigation in the Supreme Court. For example, in the State of Tamil Nadu the caste-based reservation stands at 69 per cent and applies to about 87 per cent of the population.
Reservations in elected bodies
In parliament, caste and tribe based reservations are provided to make it more representative.. Today, out of 543 seats in India's parliament, 84 (15.47%) are reserved for SC/Dalits and 47 (8.66%)for ST/Tribes. Allocation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Lok Sabha are made on the basis of proportion of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the State concerned to that of the total population.
A similar percentage of exclusive seats has been provided for members of designated castes and tribes in each state legislature. Local self-governments have caste, tribe and gender based reservation system in place.
Reservations in employment
A fixed percentage of India's government and public sector jobs are made exclusive for categories of people largely based on their caste or tribe.
The 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the Indra Sawhney case said that reservations in job promotions are "unconstitutional" but allowed its continuation for five years. In 1995, the 77th amendment to the Constitution was made to amend Article 16 before the five-year period expired to continue with reservations for SC/STs in promotions. It was further modified through the 85th amendment to give the benefit of consequential seniority to SC/ST candidates promoted by reservation.
The 81st amendment was made to the Constitution to permit the government to treat the backlog of reserved vacancies as a separate and distinct group, to which the ceiling of 50 per cent did not apply. The 82nd amendment inserted a provision in Article 335 to enable states to give concessions to SC/ST candidates in promotion.
The validity of all the above four amendments was challenged in the Supreme Court through various petitions clubbed together in M. Nagaraj & Others vs. Union of India & Others, mainly on the ground that these altered the Basic Structure of the Constitution. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the amendments but stipulated that the concerned state will have to show, in each case, the existence of "compelling reasons" - which include "backwardness", "inadequacy of representation" and overall "administrative efficiency - before making provisions for reservation. The court further held that these provisions are merely enabling provisions. If a state government wishes to make provisions for reservation to SC/STs in promotion, the state has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class.
In 2007, the Government of Uttar Pradesh introduced reservation in job promotions. However, citing the Supreme Court decision, the policy was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Allahabad High Court in 2011. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld it in 2012 by rejecting the government's argument because it failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on a caste basis.
Reservations in education
In India scholarships or student aid is available for—SCs, STs, BCs, OBCs, women, Muslims, and other minorities. Only about 0.6% of scholarships or student aid in India is based on merit, given the grossly inadequate representation of above mentioned categories in employment and education due to historic, societal and cultural reasons.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) provides financial assistance to universities for the establishment of Special Cells for SC/STs. The cells help universities implement the reservation policy in student admission and staff recruitment processes for teaching and non-teaching jobs. They also help the SC/ST categories integrate with the university community and help remove the difficulties SC/ST individuals may have experienced.
New rules implementation of UPA Government do not provide scholarship scheme and reservation quota of students and employees of colleges under central University and State University approved by the UGC.
Beneficiary groups of the reservation system
The quota system sets aside a proportion of all possible positions for members of a specific group. Those not belonging to the designated communities can compete only for the remaining positions, while members of the designated communities can compete for either reserved or open position.
Seats are reserved for people under the following criteria:
In central-government funded higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students (7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5% by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs. This ratio is followed even in Parliament and all elections where a few constituencies are earmarked for those from certain communities (which will next rotate in 2026 per the Delimitation Commission).
The exact percentages vary from state to state:
- In Haryana, the reservation is 18% for SCs and 1% for OBCs and 0% for STs, based on local demographics.
- In Tamil Nadu, the reservation is 18% for SCs and 1% for STs, based on local demographics.
- In Northeast India, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, reservation for ST in State Govt. jobs is 80% with only 20% unreserved. In the Central Universities of NEHU(shillong) and Rajiv Gandhi University, 60% of seats are reserved for ST students.
- In Andhra Pradesh, 29% of educational institutes and government jobs are reserved for OBCs, 15% for SCs, 6% for STs.
- In West Bengal, 35% of educational institute seats and government jobs are reserved for SC, ST, and OBC (22% SC, 6% ST, 7% for OBC A & B). In West Bengal there is no reservation on religious basis but some economically and educationally backward Muslim castes (basis surnames pertaining to different profession e.g. cobbler, weaver etc.) have been included along with their Hindu counterparts in OBC list namely OBC A and OBC B, in both lists caste from both communities are there. But in higher educational institutes, till now there is no reservation for the OBC community but there is reservation in regard to admission in primary, secondary and higher secondary studies.
The Women's Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 9 March 2010 by a majority vote of 186 members in favour and 1 against. As of March 2013, the Lok Sabha has not voted on the bill. Critics say gender cannot be held as a basis for reservation alone other factors should also be considered e.g. economic, social conditions of woman candidate especially when applying reservation for educated women. There also is a growing demand for women reservation in pre-existing reservations like OBC, SC/ST, physically handicapped etc. Some groups still demand that reservation for women should be at least 50 per cent as they comprise 50 per cent of the population.
In Gujarat, 33% of posts are reserved for females in all government departments and services, such as police, health, education and general administration.
There is no reservation granted on the basis of religion in the Central educational institutions at the national level, although reservation has been extended to religious minorities in some states. The Tamil Nadu government has allotted 3.5% of seats each to Muslims and Christians, thereby altering the OBC reservation to 23% from 30% (since it excludes persons belonging to Other Backward Castes who are either Muslims or Christians).
The Government of Andhra Pradesh introduced a law enabling 4 per cent reservations for Muslims in 2004. This law was upheld by the Supreme Court in an interim order in 2010 but it constituted a Constitution bench to look further into the issue. The referral was to examine the constitutional validity of quotas based on religion.Kerala Public Service Commission has a quota of 12% for Muslims. Religious minority (Muslim or Christian) educational institutes also have 50% reservation for Muslim or Christian religions. The Central government has listed a number of Muslim communities as backward Muslims, making them eligible for reservation.
The Union Government on 22 December 2011 announced establishment of a sub-quota of 4.5% for religious minorities within the existing 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes. The reasoning given was that Muslim communities that have been granted OBC status are unable to compete with Hindu OBC communities. It was alleged that the decision was announced as the Election Commission announced Assembly elections in five states on 24 December 2011. The government would not have been able to announce this due to the model code of conduct. On 12 January 2012, the Election Commission stayed implementation of this decision for violation of the model code of conduct. Later, Justice Sachar, head of the Sachar Committee that was commissioned to prepare a report on the latest social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India, criticised the government decision, saying "Such promises will not help the backward section of minorities. It is like befooling them. These people are making tall claims just to win elections". He suggested that instead of promising to give reservations, the government should focus on basic issues of improving administration and governance.
On 28 May 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed the sub-quota. The court said that the sub-quota has been carved out only on religious lines and not on any other intelligible basis. The court criticised the decision: "In fact, we must express our anguish at the rather casual manner in which the entire issue has been taken up by the central government."
Some reservations are also made for:
- Terrorist victims from Kashmir, e.g. in Punjab
- Single girl child (in Punjab)
- Migrants from the state of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sons/daughters/grandsons/granddaughters of Freedom Fighters
- Physically handicapped
- Sports personalities
- Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have a small percentage of reserved seats in educational institutions. (Note : NRI reservations were removed from IIT in 2003)
- Candidates sponsored by various organisations
- Those who have served in the armed forces ('ex-serviceman' quota—because the age of superannuation in the military is much shorter than that in the civil posts; more so, certain intakes are tenure-based, e.g. the contract for Short-Service Commission is eight years)
- Dependents of armed forces personnel killed-in-action
- Reservation in special schools of Government Undertakings/ PSUs, for the children of their own employees (e.g. Army schools, PSU schools, etc.)
- Paid pathway reservations in places of worship (e.g., Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Tiruthani Murugan temple)
- Seat reservation for Senior citizens and physically handicapped in public (bus) transport.
Reservations in Andhra Pradesh
The state of Andhra Pradesh has one of the highest percentage of reservations in India in any form. 66.66% reservations are applicable in the state, as follows:
- Scheduled Castes (A, B, C, D) – 15%
- Scheduled Tribes – 6%
- Backward Classes (A, B, C, D) – 25%
- Physically Handicapped (Blind, Deaf & Dumb and OPH) – 3% (1 per cent each)
- Ex-servicemen (APMS only) – 1% (0.5% in general)
- Women - 33.33% (in all categories, means 16.66% in general category)
- School Admissions Under RTE : Though Andhra Pradesh Govt says economically backward children are admitted in to private schools under Right To Education (RTE) Act, but the fact is children are admitted in to private schools based on caste based reservations. check page 9 and Point no 4 of this below document
The reservation for women cuts across all classes and communities and is a horizontal and not vertical reservation. As such the total % of reservations has to be counted at 50% only; and that is in consonance with the Supreme Court dicta that reservations in general ought not to exceed 50% of the posts/seats if the right to equal opportunity to all without discrimination guaranteed under Article 16 is to be vindicated and respected.
Reservations in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has 52% reservation in educational institutions and government jobs. The government of Maharashtra added Marathas (16%) and some Muslim subcastes (5%) to the reservation in 2014 but the move was rejected by the Mumbai High Court later. If this reservation to Maratha implemented, it will leave the remaining 23% to General/Open category.
Excluded from the reservation system
People in the following categories are not entitled to take advantage of the reservation system for OBCs:
|Categories for Rule of Exclusion||Rule of Exclusion Applies to the following:|
|Constitutional posts||The sons and daughters of the President of India, the Vice-President of India, Judges of the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts chairman, the members of Union Public Service Commission, members of the State Public Service Commission, Chief Election Commissioner, Comptroller Auditor-General of India or any person holding positions of a constitutional nature.|
|Service Category: Those who are considered Group 'A'/Class I officers of the All India Central and State Services (Direct Recruits) or those who are considered Group 'B'/ Class II officers of The Central and State Services (Direct Recruitment) or those who are employees in the Public Sector.||Those who have parent(s) that are Class I or Class II officers, or both parents are Class I or Class II officers but one of them dies or suffers permanent incapacitation. The criteria used for sons and daughters of Group A and B are the same for the employees of the Public sector.|
|Armed forces including Paramilitary Forces (Persons holding civil posts are not included).||The sons and daughters of parents either or both of whom is or are in the rank of colonel and above in the army or in equivalent posts in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Paramilitary Force. But that will hold true provided that- |
|Professional class and those engaged in Trade and Industry||If a person has a high paying job such as physician, lawyer, chartered accountant, income tax consultant, financial or management consultant, dental surgeon, engineer, architect, computer specialist, film artist or other film professional, author, playwright, sports person, sports professional, media professional or any other vocations of like status. If the husband holds one of the above jobs and the wife doesn't then the husband's income will be taken into consideration and if the wife holds one of the above jobs then the wife's income will be taken into consideration.The income of the family as a whole will be taken into account because the whole point of the reservation system is to raise the social status of the people that belong to the SC's, ST's and OBCs and if a family's income is high already it is considered that it raises their social status as well.|
|Property owners- agricultural, plantations (coffee,tea,rubber,etc.), vacant land and/or buildings in urban areas||Sons and daughters of those who have irrigated land area which is equal to or more than 85% of the statutory ceiling area will be excluded from reservation. They would only be under reservation if the land is exclusively unirrigated. Those with vacant buildings can use them for residential, industrial or commercial purposes, hence they are not covered under reservations.|
|Creamy layer||Son(s)/daughter(s) of those who earn ₹ 8 lakh (₹800,000) or more annually for three consecutive years are excluded from reservation.|
The term creamy layer was first coined in 1975 in the State of Kerala vs N. M. Thomas case when a judge said that the "benefits of the reservation shall be snatched away by the top creamy layer of the backward class, thus leaving the weakest among the weak and leaving the fortunate layers to consume the whole cake". The 1992 Indra Sawhney vs Union of India judgement laid down the limits of the state's powers: it upheld the ceiling of 50 per cent quotas, emphasised the concept of "social backwardness", and prescribed 11 indicators to ascertain backwardness. The judgement also established the concept of qualitative exclusion, such as "creamy layer". The creamy layer applies only to OBCs. The creamy layer criteria was introduced at Rs 1 lakh in 1993, and revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004, Rs 4.5 lakh in 2008 and Rs 6 lakh in 2013, but now the ceiling has been raised to ₹8 lakh (in Sep., 2017). In October 2015, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) proposed that a person belonging to OBC with an annual family income of up to Rs 15 lakh should be considered as minimum ceiling for OBC. The NCBC also recommended sub-division of OBCs into "backward", "more backward" and "extremely backward" groups and to divide the 27 per cent quota amongst them in proportion to their population, to ensure that stronger OBCs do not corner the quota benefits.
Institutions exempted from reservation
The following institutions have been kept out of the purview of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006:,
- Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai and its ten constituent units, namely:
- Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay
- Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam
- Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore
- Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar
- Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata
- Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata;
- Institute of Physics, Bhubaneshwar
- Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
- Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad
- Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai
- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
- North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong
- Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
- Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram
- Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun
The following institutions though not specified in the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006:, do not have reservation in admission.
On 27 October 2015 the Supreme Court directed the state and the Central governments to end the regional quota and to ensure that super-speciality medical courses are kept "unreserved, open and free" from any domicile status after the court had allowed petitions files by some MBBS doctors.
Advances under the reservations system
The public sector jobs are divided into 4 categories: Class I (or Group A), Class II (or Group B), Class III (or Group C) and Class IV (or Group D). The Class I employees take up 2.2% of the public sector workforce, the Class II employees take up 3.3% of the public sector workforce, the Class III employees take up 66.8% of the public sector workforce, and the Class IV employees take up 27.2% of the public sector workforce. Below are the percentages of the SC employees in the Central government:
* excludes sweepers
The above table shows that over time as the new laws for the reservation systems were passed employment of SC's in Class I, II, III, and IV public sectors increased substantially.
- ^Sheth, D. L. (14 November 1987). "Reservations Policy Revisited". Economic and Political Weekly. 22 (46): 1957–1962. JSTOR 4377730.
- ^ abLaskar, Mehbubul Hassan. "Rethinking Reservation in Higher Education in India"(PDF). ILI Law Review. pp. 29–30. Archived from the original(PDF) on 25 April 2012.
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- ^Kumar, Raja K. (1984). "The Untouchables of India". In Jaewoong, Ahn. The Image of God in Minorities. World Christian Federation. p. 41. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- ^"Educational Safeguards". Department of Education. Government of India. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
- ^ abBhattacharya, Amit (8 April 2006). "Who are the OBCs?". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-19.
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- ^Article 15, Section 4 of the Constitution of India (1950)
- ^Article 46, Section 0 of the Constitution of India (1950)
- ^ ab"Indra Sawhney Etc. vs Union of India And Others, Etc. on 16 November, 1992". IndianKanoon.org. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- ^"BJP's OBC pitch: How stronger new backward classes panel will function".
- ^"Seventy Seventh Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
- ^"Eighty Fifth Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. 4 January 2002. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
- ^"Eighty First Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. 29 August 1997. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
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- ^Kapadia, S. H. "M.Nagaraj & Others vs Union of India & Others on 19 October, 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- ^"Promotion quota not legally sustainable: HC". The Times of India. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
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- ^"Financial Support: Establishment of Special Cells for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Universities and Institutions Deemed to be Universities". University Grants Commission, India. Archived from the original on 2012-05-11.
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- ^ ab
- ^The concept of untouchability was not practised uniformly throughout the country. The practice of segregation and untouchability prevailed more in the northern parts of India than in the south. Furthermore, certain communities, considered "untouchable" in one area were not thus in others.
Reservations in Maharashtra as of 5 March 2015.
Scheduled Castes (SC) (13%)
Scheduled Tribes (ST) (7%)
Other Backward Classes (OBC) (19%)
Special Backward Classes (SBC) (2%)
Vimukta Jati - A (3%)
Nomadic Tribes - B (2.5%)
Nomadic Tribes - C (3.5%)
Nomadic Tribes - D (2%)
But human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are few forms peculiar to Dalit women.
Woman abuse is an issue of power , when men feel threatened or are raised to feel superior to woman and want to show it(Apologies for oversimplification ) . Being a Dalit and a Woman surely compounds the problem.Why do you think that is?
People speak of “free markets” and “equal opportunity for all” as arguments for speaking against reservation, while conveniently forgetting that these are the people who are NOT getting equal opportunities . Free markets do not work in case of externalities and this is an externality.
Let us all be aware that Untouchability cannot be wished away.
So now coming back to the question of Reservations
Whenever there is a section of society that is so much discriminated against , the best way to end that discrimination is by mixing them up with the general population and bringing them into mainstream. There will be uproars as people do not like change and the deep rooted biases act up , but that is what we as a society have to fight.
Only when we see people from that community all around us , understand them, see that they are not different, can we be able to remove this discrimination.
We need this section of society to be in all areas of the community , from doctors to engineers to entrepreneurs to CEOs to Artists to teachers . This is the only way to end this discrimination and give equal opportunity to all.
We need to level the playing field for people who were not allowed to even compete.
And all this while , we need to be conscious that Bias exists. Just because caste-based discrimination is illegal, does not imply that it does not happen.
So now that we have established that there is a section of society that has been and still is unfairly treated and that biases still exist.We also established that the best way to end those biases would be to get these people in all areas of society , rather than confining them to jobs they are traditionally made to do based on their caste.
How do we do this?
This is where the government comes in. Let us understand a simple fact that whenever X is given to Person 1, that X cannot be given to person Y. Resources are limited . The government needs to come up with schemes and measures to help this section of society rise , this will be done at expense of something. This is not optional , we as a society cannot accept that a large part of us are denied basic human rights.
These schemes involve resources . Resources for education , resources for loans , resources for gainful employment and resources for spreading awareness .When the government reserves seats to SC ST , look at it as an allocation of resources . Another way could be to halve the number of government colleges and spend that money on other endeavors . You do not have reservations then, but then the number of seats available to “General Category” is still the same.
Reservation system In India was one of the ways (Not the only way)to achieve this goal of getting SC ST OBCs into the mainstream.
So Is Reservation Good?
Yes and No.
Yes: The intention for reservation is good , necessary and correct.
No: Because it has not been implemented properly.
The basic problem with the reservation system in India has been its misuse(or may I say heavy abuse). Reservation was never intended to help the Rich SC kid get an Easy entry to educational institute . It was meant to give a shortcut to millions of SC ST and OBCs out of the rut , taking their families along, and making the society more accepting of them .
It was also supposed to end, but sadly due to political corruption and vote bank politics , it did not. But when we say that , we need to remember that it was also thought that the caste based discrimination too would end. If our politicians have failed, so have we.
Another issue is that the reservation in higher educational institutes, without proper support for primary education seems like a cop-out. The government’s job was to bring about a change in mindset of people ,create and employ strict laws to stomp out any discrimination , but that is a really hard thing to do. It requires patience and courage to risk annoying your vote bank which not many politicians are willing to do.
Plus it may not be the best way anymore , there can be a serious discussion on relevance of reservation in this time. Agreed that discrimination is still alive, but is reservation still a good way to end it?
Why the heck am I writing This?
To be fair, I am not too sure either. I have been on the other side, blaming the SC ST /OBC for taking such disproportionate number of seats to all the coveted institute , for getting seats in IITs while knowing much less than me(I did not make it to IIT –Failed to clear Mains ..Missed by a whisker) . Yes I too have been really angry at the system .I too called the system unfair to me and claimed that SC ST have it too easy.
But In retrospect , I believe I was ill-informed . My anger was directed at the wrong place and I see too many people like me , who ignore the very basic fact that this system is still relevant because we still have discrimination . The anger also needs to be directed towards the society as a whole , not just the government and certainly not against the SC ST/OBC community as a whole.
Yes reservation system in India is inherently unfair , but our society itself is based on unfairness at this point , where some people are superior to others and some inferior based solely on their birth and not merit.
There needs to be a serious discussion on the relevance of reservation system in India for solving this issue. What can be the better way? In an education hungry society like ours , Is compromising on student intake for some of the most premium colleges worth it?
Also till reservation is there , how can we make sure that it is not abused? What laws need to be brought into place to prevent non-deserving people taking it? I personally know cases of millionaires taking advantage of the reserved seat for their son, which is preposterous. Can I do not something about it? How do we make sure that the Creamy Layer(annual income >6 Lakhs) does not take advantage of this system?
How can we strengthen the basic education system so that all kids can get an equal shot at a good education?
And finally , how to end it? It will end when the cast based system actually becomes irrelevant . We do need to ask the question that “if Reservation system in India is becoming an impediment to that?” Instead of removing , is it now strengthening the divide, making it more vivid? If yes, we might need other ways to fight it.
For this we need more voices , voices from the SC ST OBC community as well to speak out, do you think reservation system in India is still required?
And why are we seeing an increasing number of people demanding to be put as OBCs? Why are we doing this? Should this not be banned? For people who face economic hardships, we need a system based purely on financial well-being rather than caste based.
And yes , a hard-line. Any politician who takes a stand on getting a hard-line date to end this system will potentially kill his or her political career , but I am sure there are some politicians who might risk it. By hard-line , I do not mean just some arbitrary date which can be later extended, but a dead line that cannot be changed or is too difficult to change , e.g.: Only if 99% of both houses of parliament decide to extend it .We could also use the legal route where only an appeal to supreme court could overrule this, thus giving a face-saving cop out to the party in power then. “We tried, but the SC refused”
Finally , Reservation System in India is not a revenge on General Class as some people make it out to be. It is a system which had to be brought in to end an unfair system , and is potentially itself becoming part of the problem rather than a solution.
If we want to end it , at least we as a society need to end the discrimination . Let’s do our part as well, shall we?