[Answered] “In the era of high competition, reservation in jobs and higher education need to be rationalised.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Need of reservation in present time. Why reservation need to be rationalised?
Conclusion. Way forward and Conclusion.

Reservation in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the public sector units, union and state civil services, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions for the socially and educationally backward communities and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who are inadequately represented in these services and institutions. In the era of high competition and with an eye on robust economic growth, it is important to discuss the fallouts and need of rationalisation of reservation policy.

Need of reservation in present time:

  1. Equal Opportunities and respect: The underlying theory for the reservation by the state is the under-representation of the identifiable groups as a legacy of the Indian caste system. Without including the left outs and suppressed communities it is difficult to progress inclusively.
  2. Oppression: The oppression of the weaker section of society by the stronger (upper castes) section has not ended. In fact, it has been aggravated. A new era of social justice and equality still remains a dream to be achieved. The benefits of development have been appropriated by about 20 per cent of the population at the top, thus reservation is needed.
  3. Social Justice: Reservation establishes a new social order that would secure to the underprivileged sectors of our society justice in social relations and equality of opportunity to rise in society.

Why reservation policy need a relook?

  1. Increased Casteism: Casteism has been granted a fresh lease of life. Our country is already divided into various groups. Reservation will further divide the population artificially which is not good for any country.
  2. Reduced meritocracy: Merit and calibre have been replaced by mediocrity. Reservation policy has generated a spirit of self-denigration, each caste and community competing to be more backward than others.
  3. Breach of 50% limit: The Supreme Court ruled that reservations cannot exceed 50% and put a cap on reservations. The central government of India reserves 27% of higher education, and individual states may legislate further reservations. However, there are states laws that exceed this 50% limit. For example, the caste-based reservation fraction stands at 69% and is applicable to about 87% of the population in the state of Tamil Nadu.
  4. Vote bank politics: Attempts to include more and more castes/classes in the list of OBCs, have changed the social and economic landscape beyond recognition.
  5. Increased conflicts: In some states for anti-reservation agitation have increased violence in the society. There is increase in discontent among people of advanced castes. The seventies, the eighties and the first six years of the nineties witnessed countrywide waves of violent protests.
  6. Impact on administrative efficiency: This not only politicised the civil services but also affected the efficiency of the administration. Most of the officers are now working on the basis of caste and creed.

Way forward:

  1. Reservations should be accompanied by structural changes like land reforms and an inclusive educational support systems.
  2. Reservation policy should be reviewed every five years so that the state can rectify distortions and people both backward and non-backward.
  3. All the commissions and the committees that have examined this issue like the Kelkar Commission have accepted the need for compensatory discrimination to a certain limit.
  4. The poor should get special weightage but a watchdog body should keep an eye on their progress. As soon as it is found that they no longer need the crutches of reservations, all jobs should be declared open to all

The demands for special concessions and privileges to the under­privileged are matters of right and not of charity or philanthropy. But a rationalisation would not only ensure meritocracy but would also help India to achieve new heights in the modern competitive world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email