Comments on Reservation in India

Reservation is a very controversial and sensitive topic. When many argue for reservation, some argue ruthlessly against it. The super-rich of the country are mostly least bothered about it. A part of the upper middle class and middle class argues for it, some against it. It is good to see why reservation was implemented in the country before critiquing everything called reservation.

There was an initial recognition of backwardness as a social condition of discrimination. Later it was introduced as a reservation for special groups of people like SCs, STs and so on. OBCs were introduced much later. When the percentage of OBC population is nearly 41%, they have a reservation for 27% of the seats. The SC population is at 19.59% (15% reservation), ST population at 8.63% (7.5% reservation) and the rest of the population is at 30.80%. I am just giving a general figure and I will give my comments.

It was supposed to be for 10 years, which was later extended on and on. Why it was extended? There are some political reasons for it; but more than that the conditions of these classes of people are still backward. The rural schools are still backward. The facilities are still lacking. Agriculture is becoming a very bad economic option. When we consider all these, how they will be able to compete with the people from the urban backgrounds. Everybody agrees the development of facilities is the need of the hour. But our governments are not showing that will power to do it fast enough.

A serious aberration in the system of the reservation is realized when you see two groups of people. One is the creamy layer among the reservation categories like SC, ST and OBC. They continue to be beneficiaries of the reservation. Really speaking they shouldn’t be. The second group is the sections of people among the so-called higher classes who are poor and who don’t have access to the resources. The government should seriously consider these options. Many speak of the reservation based on economic status and so on. I too would love it, but don’t know how practical it is.

Another serious issue is where the reservation stops for a particular person. For eg: One got admission to study in the best of the schools; should he be eligible for reservations in the college level; if he got to study in good colleges because of reservation, should he get reservation for jobs. Can’t government employ more strategical policies in the colleges and other places so that they are empowered to compete with others. I feel that a person shouldn’t be allowed reservation all along just because he was born in a lower class, but should be given reservation so that he can get sufficient opportunities. Once that happens, he should be removed from the reservation list so that rest of the underprivileged of the category will get benefit of it. (I know making such systems in a country like India is very difficult, but the purpose of reservation is to benefit the entire backward classes, not a particular sections of them. The present system encourages the backward of the backward classes to remain backward only).

Another serious issue related to this is the will power of the governments and bureaucracies to reduce the growing level of inequality between the rich and the poor. The policies of the governments in the name of GDP growth, industrialization are pro-rich and they forget the vast majority of farmers and other sections of the society. This is a dangerous trend as there will be more demands for reservations from more sections of people. Thus the authorities should seriously look into an integral development of the country, not just focusing on the top 1% who fills the coffers of the political parties.

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

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