Change in Reservation Policy
Reservation in India has been of great help for upliftment of the poor and backward classes but it has been misused too so its time we amend the reservation policies and make way for reservation based on other factors than caste or creed and give equal chances to everyone and
I will start the article with a short story that happened back when I was in school.
I had a very good friend, Rachit. We played football together in school and i used to go to his place to play on Sony play station because he could afford it and i could not. He even had a cool mobile phone whereas for me a mobile phone 8-9 years ago was a far-fetched dream .
We studied together before exams . I always scored more than him and I was not just statistically superior, I was more hardworking and intelligent than him. Then came the entrance exams period .We both had filed for a lot of engineering colleges . Peer pressure , pressure to perform , pressure to excel and othe multidimensional pressures, I succumbed to the pressure and could only get 2241 rank in DCE exam ,not qualified in IIT JEE and 10420 rank in IPU entrance exam. I fell a little short of the required cutoffs .My friend Rachit on the other hand failed to qualify jee like me and in DCE he got not qualified but in IPU entrance he managed to qualify and got 9568 rank. Before this incident I never knew about his caste or anything of that matter. We were all busy trying to get admission somewhere but I could not get admission to a good college and I had to drop but after sometime I got to know he got admission in Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology which is a premier institute in Delhi for engineering, an institute to reckon with .He told me he belonged to reserved group and had SC quota . That moment I realised what a poor system we have in India and what happened to me is happening to lakhs of students every year. We both went to the same school, had similar routine and he had better services than me but still just because of a loophole he got more than me .This is my story of being played at the hands of system and every other guy out there who has the same fate .
What Is Reservation:
Reservation is representation given to an individual of a deprived community and caste and he is expected to use it for upliftment of his community in return. Reservation is a compensatory method deployed for sections of society who have been denied many a rights mainly civil and political rights in history .
Before I begin talking about reservation in india i will discuss briefly about its history and why it is so prevalent in India. In earlier times reservation was seen in customs rituals education and pretty much everything , the blue blood enjoyed the professions which yielded higher profits .The respectable jobs were done by the rich . The poor were left to work the menial jobs and had no means to education as education was a costly affair back then.Without education few men could overcome their circumstances so the trend followed for many years . Reservation is laid down in Manu Smriti which is believed to be composed by Brahmins which has always been a superior class. The poor were never given opportunity to learn or work of their own will . their will was restricted to choose between day to day less profitable jobs .In 1901,reservations were introduced in Kolhapur, a princely state of Maharashtra by Shahu Maharaj. Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj, Maharaja of Kolhapur in Maharashtra introduced reservation for upliftment of non-Brahmins and backward classes as in 1902. He provided free education to everyone and opened several hostels in Kolhapur so that people could get education easily. He also made sure everyone got a suitable job irrespective of what caste they belonged to . He was a good samaritan and appealed for a class-free India and the abolition of untouchability. He created 50% reservation in services for backward classes/communities in the State of Kolhapur making it the first government order to give reservation to depressed classes in India. In 1909,Morley Minto Reforms made sure that reservations were introduced in favour of a number of castes and communities that had little share in the administration by the British. In August 1932, Ramsay Macdonald, Prime Minister of Britain introduced the Communal Award, which introduced separate representation for the Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and the Untouchables. The depressed classes were assigned a number of seats to be filled by election from special constituencies in which voters belonging to the depressed classes only could vote. The Award was highly controversial and was opposed by Mahatma Gandhi, who fasted in protest against it. Communal Award was supported by many among the minority communities, most notably revolutionary Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. After lengthy negotiations, Gandhi reached an agreement with Dr. Ambedkar to have a single Hindu electorate, with Dalits having seats reserved within it. This is known as the Poona Pact. Electorates for other religions like Muslim and Sikh remained separate. There were many other reforms in favour of and against reservations before the Indian Independence.
There are a number of laws, both Central and State, which provide for safeguards to SCs/STs. Some of these emanate from the various Constitutional provisions. An illustrative list of such laws is given below:
The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
Acts and regulations in force in different States to prevent alienation of land belonging to SCs/STs. Such provision exists in the Land Revenue Code in some states.
Acts in different States for restoration of alienated land to SCs/STs.
The provisions made in Articles 16,335,338,340,341&342 of the constitution is related to reservation,protection and safeguards,in public employment in respect of the persons belonging to the SCs/STs and other backward classes.
Reservation is not the panacea for all problems nor it is permanent but it is here to stay in India .The main idea behind reservation is active participation of people from "socially outcast" group .In cast ridden India infested with corruption and where unhealthy competition is rampant reservation is an important issue that needs to be dealt with caution .The concept of differentiation has no uniformity in India rather it is very complex and unevenly distributed , people considered untouchables in one state are not so in other states .This is because of diverse cultural and religious beliefs across the country .In general terms untouchability is more common in north India than south India because of orthodox religious groups .Reservation has been used by political parties be it a national party or regional party for their personal benefits to woo the voters .The reservation system which was supposed to be for 10 years is still here and a lot of deserving and worthy candidates are leaving country owing to the bad side of this system .The general category is bearing the brunt of the decision taken by few men decades ago. The legislature has not been tough on people who are misusing it, instead they are increasing reservation and every other month or so we come across news of different regional minorities asking for reservation ,protesting for it .History has witnessed sections of society have gone to dogs to have their way .When the government accepts their demands they are not only showing weakness but also encouraging others to follow this path of singling out the government to meet their unjust demands .In the name of democracy and freedom of speech the largest democracy in the world is played at the hands of small factions of society .In this situation the role of judiciary becomes very significant . The supreme court is guardian of our constitution and rightfully it should do right by each and every citizen. General category students are ducks in storm if one asks them how they see themselves in this situation. When the judiciary sees that government is either being blackmailed or government is itself involved in mud baths with the leaders of small minorities for political gains ,it is their duty to take strong measures to resolve this situation. Strong steps from the judiciary is the need of the hour because if something drastic does not happen now it will be too late. Immigration is at all time high,india is losing its best people to the west , unworthy candidates are filling up the ranks in government offices , and even in promotion merit is not criterion at some places,being from a particular caste is .That adds fuel to the fire . The main problem here is the minorities who are using the reservation cards are enjoying the priviliges at behest of their ancestors because it is not them who suffered humiliation in ancient times but their ancestors did and now they are using this card for their personal benefits and gains. They boycott the workplace, roads and whátever they can and people of general class are not too vocal about this issue because they are already struggling and they don't have time to voice their opinions and go for protests and other things.
Youth is the building block of nation but our system never fails to hurt the sentiments of youth . Indians are self proclaimed secularists yet after decades of independence we are in clutches of religious and castist supremacy. The socio-political antics of government cost a lot of students fair shot at good colleges and jobs.
There is a saying world in not cruel because of cruel people it is because of the good people inability to stand against them .Every year, every single year the reservation percentage is increasing in some part of our nation. Recently jat agitation in Haryana has once again proved that government is diplomatic and soft in such cases but there is one good take from this incident , Jats have demanded either remove reservation completely and or give to us .Removing reservation completely in different phases sounds good for everyone. Selection should always be on merit basis . There are certain posts very high profile posts like The President , Vice President of India , their children cannot take reservation and it is rightly justified , but apart from these few posts there are plenty of other departments wherein the same rule should be applied but it is not. India is a country with 2nd highest population in the world and fastest growing economy there are good people and there are bad people , it is the duty of good ones to keep a tab on the bad people but good ones have been watching the show from sidelines from long . This has encouraged smaller factions of people to repeat the same. Thousands of people who are either jobless or working somewhere inspired by a leader who promises them a better future and a better world for their future generation on basis of reservation collude with handful of greedy politicians and cost crores of students opportunity. Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes comprise about 16.6 percent and 8.6 percent , respectively , of india's population according to 2011 census. What's totally justified is the percentage of reservation in centrally funded educational institutions is 15 percent for SC and 7.5 percent for ST which is nearly equal to their share in population .Now the problem of the hour is this particular amount of seats is not filled with deserving candidates.
There are some brilliant candidates in every but there are some who are not deserving but they use their quota card to get things done. They are well fed ,they belong to good family and they are not good in academics but still they manage to get admission and job because it is convenient for them .Government has given silver spoons to all these people regardless of the fact they actually need it and deserve it .Just because a student is from particular caste he will be given admission with even half the marks of other candidates even though the upbringing and family background is same for both the candidates. It's high time that supreme court take some strong steps to curb the situation and make reservation only for poor and not on the basis of caste ,creed or religion. What Britishers did by granting special electorates for Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs that allowed them to rule easily and hampered national unity . 70 years down the line we are still divided by reservation and politicians are still using the same to divide and rule on which was envisaged by Britishers.We have been taken for granted for too long . It is high time that we get vocal about this issue and be together for once . Our future generations rely on us . A divided nation is not what we should give them . Give them a nation where equal opportunities are given to everyone and none is given special treatment because of a particular surname and dont let some particular men rule the roost. Only then can India shift from the tag from developing nation to developed nation .There is dire need of amendment in current reservation policies.
Role of Judiciary And Politics:
In cases like N Nagarajans vs State of Tamilnadu case and Indira Sawhney vs Union of India case Judiciary has clearly taken its stance . Supreme Court has directed that reservation should not increase more than 50 percent in any case. But in north eastern states and some other states bills are being pitched for more than 75 percent reservation in some cases. Courts are not coming out strongly against increasing reservations .Their stance is rather diplomatic and soft. SC and ST count about 25 percent of the voters so politicians are not at all opposing reservation policy fearing they would lose their vote bank. B.R Ambedkar envisioned reservations only for 10 years after independence .We have come a long way since then,the percentage has only increased let alone removing it completely .
Flaw In Current System:
1. Person's caste is the criterion for reservation.
2.The rich group of "socially and backward classes" as described in Article 115 of Constitution is using it even though they are well-off making the best of both the worlds .
I would like to suggest that reservation should only be in education and that too for families with poor background .Reservation should be completely removed and phased out gradually from other departments like services and promotions .Starting line for everyone should be same .Judiciary will have to play a very big role if India is to truly become united and strong nation .Reservation should be removed from service .There are many learned men who argue that people would procure false income certificates but then so can false caste certificates be made so there is no denial that we should now strike at the effect of caste system which is poverty and so we should deploy reservation only on income basis and to facilitate the smooth functioning to this the income tax department will have to chew the cud, take some stringent steps to make sure people represent their correct income in documents .
There should be no room for forgery and those who indulge in that should be punished.
Reserved castes and unreserved castes should work together to end castism because castism breeds reservation. India is yet to see palmy days because of inefficient reservation policy. Lets make a better system and a better India. Now the need of hour is stop debating anymore on this vexed issue and create a blueprint for an efficient system.
# Social problems in india,author- Ram Ahuja
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org