Opinion | Time to reshape the Reservation Policy

Wednesday, 27 January 2021



Opinion | Time to reshape the Reservation Policy

Rabin Prasad Kalita | June 08, 2018 20:37 hrs

The reservation system plaguing the country is failing to produce proficient citizens in this developing nation.  Political parties have harvested the system’s profits for their own benefit which is very much evident in every election manifesto of different parties.  The Indian Constitution adopted by the Republic of India in 1950, enacted that reservation should be for those who were left out of society due to caste-based discrimination. It was based on the principle of equal opportunity as enshrined in the Constitution. Although initially, the period was fixed for 10 years, it has however been stretched to more than six and half decades by now either due to social reasons or to reap political mileage. Instead of thinking of its abolition, new additions are still happening. This reservation system was launched to upgrade poor and backward people after the transition period of independent India to come up to a certain level matching others. Policy makers of earlier and succeeding governments have failed to achieve its value till date. 


Today the condition is such that instead of trying to lessen the gap, the gorge of this caste-based reservations system is deepening and also spreading amongst the different communities. For example, Jats, mostly dominant in Haryana and Rajasthan, have been included in OBC (Other Backward Class) category recently; they are the prime land owners in both states. Moreover, Yadavs, the most dominant rulers and landowners in Bihar and UP, are also brought under OBC category. Wealth or poverty has nothing to do with it. It is only politics for whom branches of reservations are still prevalent and added one after another.  No political party wishes to let it go for fear of losing this most powerful political tool of vote-based politics. 
People enjoying government jobs under ST, SC and OBC quotas also enjoy the premature promotions earmarked for them. Such people possess bungalows, cars and all the comforts by now besides putting their progenies in high profile schools and colleges. Some of them are high ranking bureaucrats too. In short they are well-to-do in all respects. Yet, they are considered as privileged class and are accorded these facilities generation after generation invariably. How long would they keep reaping these advantages?

The whole lot of government employees engaged through caste reservations keeps securing the benefits of their inherited category generation after generation while a major portion of the general caste are becoming jobless and homeless. Naturally this bias provokes the anger of an endowed and capable one.  

Now, the consequences of reservation are so vivid and clear. We can’t expect quality products from the premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, IISCs, NITs and good medical colleges due to the poor admission standards purely triggered through reservation. It has been a great loss to the country in terms of economy; the nation’s pride is at stake due to brain drain. This is a principal reason that a good number of meritorious brains have migrated to many different developed countries where they can seek better education and also choose to have their permanent address over there. 

All this must change. If someone is provided with reservation then his successors shall not be extended the same facility again. It is because the government has already extended sufficient financial support to him/her for the upbringing of his children. A renewable minimum income of the family may be fixed by the government for seeking reservations. Employees working under central, state government, PSUs and corporate sectors with high income should be removed from the category of reservation as per the ceiling fixed by the government no matter which caste he or she belongs to. Production of family income documents must be made essential to ascertain their income while applying for higher education or jobs. 

Reservation should be provided to a person once in a lifetime; this may be while pursuing education or applying for government service as per the option given by the student during the board exam. Percentage of reservation system should be totally abolished. Cut-off marks between reserved and unreserved category should be kept minimum so that the standard and the very purpose of education is maintained. 
Instead of paying more stress on reservation the government should work to create a congenial as well as convenient education system acceptable by all. It’s high time to enact policies in regard to establishing or redressing high quality schools all over to reduce the difference between public and private establishments. Poor and brilliant students are to be encouraged with scholarships so that they can pursue a higher education later on. Poor students should be backed up with interest free loans, tuition free colleges etc. There is no need of reservation for a person who is rightly educated because he can have the ability for self-engagement or to create jobs for others. Now the time has come to remove this orthodox age-old policy and start with a new vision and ensure its effective implementation. 

The author writes on the country’s reservation policy that is giving rise to incompetence and ineptitude in all spheres of the society and economy

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