Friday, August 5, 2011

K17 - AARAKSHAN - Reservation In India - To What Extent ?

On 6 Aug '11
Reservation as a system in India came into being because of some valid reasons. Yes certain castes and tribes were discriminated in past and are still being discriminated in few regions of India. Reservation in education and jobs was introduced to uplift them some 60 yrs ago but has it yielded any desired results? NO. The problem was the manner in which it has been implemented. Here arises many questions:

1. Why a person low to me in ranking and capability get a seat in university & not me?
2. Why should i not get the job wen i am more qualified and better suited?

The initial motto of Dr. Ambedkar was to give financial help to backward class poor students who can perform well and lead a better life, which was a step in the right direction. However, the system we have now is a curse. Everyone understands the need for all sections of the Indian society to get an opportunity to be part of this vibrant economy. But reservation based on caste and community is not an answer to this. Currently in India no institute discriminates any student based on their caste or religion during admission. However many students don’t make it to the institutes because of the economic reasons. Also many students who come from economically weaker sections but do not fall in the reservation criteria do not get a fair opportunity too. Reservation doesn't take into account economic status of person and there lies the problem.

Let me explain this in a simpler way by giving an example of two people. Ram belongs to high caste and Shyam is a low caste person. Both apply for the same job. Shyam gets it as seat he applied was ear marked for reserved category. Now Shyam has a better job and he has stabilized his family to good level economically. Ram gets a low job. Few years later, the son or daughter of Shyam again applies for the job. But wait a minute, isn't his family already "uplifted"? Why should he be eligible for reservation now. Cant that job be given to son of Ram if he is more capable enough as he is the person who needs to be "uplifted" now. There is reservation in every single field including where promotions are concerned. Here performance and personal capabilities take a back seat and people who do not come under the reservation category feel disillusioned and would lose interest in bettering their performances..

What is more irritating to me is instead of reserving seat in universities and in central govt job, why can't govt provide free education & books & materials to deserving candidate and help them to stand up & compete on their own hard work.

"Give food to poor & you feed them once. Give work & you feed them forever"

There are men and women, the two different genders that god made. Rest all differences are made by man. Hence, when these days, we consider women to be equal to men, why demand for reservation. Again when women do not want a reservation, there is no need for others to claim a reservation on grounds of being weaker sections. People should be getting a preference based on their merit.

"Let us not RESERVE if we don't DESERVE" 

The recent proposal by HRD minister Arjun Singh to introduce 27.5 per cent reservation for OBC in centrally funded educational institutes, including IITs and IIMs will take India back from where she is today. The educational institutes are the backbone of India’s economy. These institutes have enabled us to reach where we are now. They are centres of excellence in India, primarily because of the quality of students joining them. With the amount of time that a candidate spends in these places, it is impossible to change the fundamental knowledge level of a student. If a candidate has not received proper education and/or, does not have a initial knowledge base to build on, he will find himself completely out of the place. Finally the ultimate aim of a candidate is to find a good job offer after their university education. The reservation may help these candidates in getting admission in the universities, but if the companies are not convinced with the quality, they would rather go empty handed than recruiting them. On the other side, every seat given to less deserving candidate because of the politics of reservation, implies a deserving candidate from the general background is being penalized for being born in a particular caste- something which is out of his control. Not only reserved or general category candidates are losing out but also universities too. As already mentioned the methodology employed by the institutes like, IIMs and IITs, is to build up on the already high knowledge base of the candidates. A compromise on the quality of students would imply a total loss of the component of learning from peers. The knowledge gained through group work/ projects etc. will diminish if people are not at similar level of knowledge base. This will have a major impact on the overall quality of education being imparted by these institutes- both inside and outside the classroom. Also, a major factor in determining the ranking and reputation of these institutes is the placement after the programme. If merit is not the only criteria in admissions, the placement figures are bound to go down having adverse impact on the reputation of these institutes. The Society will be also on losing side. With the Indian economy growing at a fantastic rate, India needs an ever growing supply of competent management and technical grads from the top quality institutes in this country. Compromising on meritocracy means restricting the supply of competent grads for the Indian companies.

Then who is the sole winner? - Yes its Government. The UPA government is well aware of the vote bank of the SC/STs and OBCs. They know that if they want to stay more on politics then they has to make this so called backward & minority class happy.

"Reservation kills Talent & Country, both Socially & Economically"

Another bigger issue I feel is no one is talking about how can we end this menace. Everyone is talking about how can we mess our system more and more. We should have comprehensive survey atleast on the status of SC/STs that have their condition improved in last 60 years or has remained just as it is. There r large number of high caste people who r economically backward then many low caste people. They are not getting any benefit. On another side of the coin, there are lots of people who take advantage from this reservation by claiming that they belongs to backward class & their annual family income is almost nothing and their father was just living off pension money. While they will be having three or four big shops in some of the posh markets and are used to drive exotic cars and had a luxurious lifestyle. I don't know how many such non-salaried people will be there in India, whose annual income will be shown as a paltry sum while they go around in chauffeur driven cars to apply for these jobs in the economically backward category.

The Supreme Court of India on 10 April 2008, upheld the Government's move for initiating 27% OBC quotas in Government funded institutions. The Court has categorically reiterated its prior stand that "Creamy Layer" should be excluded from the ambit of reservation policy. Several criteria to identify creamy layer has been recommended, which are as follows: Those with family income above Rs 250,000 a year should be in creamy layer, and excluded from the reservation quota. Also, children of doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, actors, consultants, media professionals, writers, bureaucrats, defense officers of colonel and equivalent rank or higher, high court and Supreme Court judges, all central and state government Class A and B officials. The court has requested Parliament to exclude MPs’ and MLAs’ children, too.

The Constitution needs to redefined in many ways:
1. Make education mandatory and free for all till the age of 15. If the development of the backward class is the real agenda of govt, i suggest the real need is to tackle the problem from where it originates, right at the primary educational level.
2. Propose reservation based on economic status.
3. Reservation only upto graduation level. Not in post graduation or higher education.
4. Provide opportunity for students to earn while they study.
5. Those who have studied in private sector or urban centres, should by default get converted into general category.
6. Once a father/mother has taken the benefit of reservation, their family should be converted into general category.
7. Instead of issues like reservation, politicians like Arjun Singh & others should divert their energies on decreasing school drop out ratios.

At last, things which matters most - Every child that is deprived of what it rightfully deserves after studying hard is a shame on all the Indian governments & people & every self immolation & suicide incident of a student missing a seat by a few marks represents blood stains in the hands of millions of voters. Please wake up & raise your voice. If Peoples can changes, Boundaries can changes, Vision can changes, Why can't Old Constitution ?