Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Is Reservation necessary in Government services?


Hitler’s propaganda Chief Josef Gobbles said that a lie repeated adnauseum was easily transformed into a truth. That is what has happened in the case of Reservation Policy in India. Despite past experiences and its incapacity to yield desired results, the repeated stress on Reservation has compelled all political parties, their leaders and people in power think that Reservation is necessary for the development and empowerment of underprivileged backward sections of Indian society.

In the history of Twentieth Century, Reservation Policy is, perhaps, one of the biggest experiments done in order to protect human rights of weaker sections of the society and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture between various sections of society.

Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy. True, it is humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift the weaker sections of its society and empower them. It is desirable to involve them as well in the task of governance. But how it can be done without disturbing the efficiency of administrative machinery – is a big question, because  mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration can make the life of common people equally or may be more miserable?.

Reservation Policy in government Services fixes up quotas for different sections of society into its administrative apparatus without giving much emphasis on candidates’ qualifications. It confronts two contradictory principles. One is the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. How to keep a balance between the two? Is it better to fix up quotas and reserve seats for different sections of society in government institutions or it would be more desirable to prepare people from amongst the submerged sections of society through sound system of education and training, make them capable and confident to shoulder the responsibilities of administration judiciously and then facilitate their entry into the services?

Merit oriented approach in the matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind that gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It fears that any relaxation in the matter of recruitment standard, as the reservation policy suggests, adversely affects the efficiency of administration.

Quota system disintegrates the civil services as it creates a gulf between quota officers and non-quota officers, which ultimately affects adversely the integrity of the services. It also becomes difficult for the government to make coordinated efforts for the development of the nation as a whole.

In the case of reservations, the intention of the law-making agencies creates doubts when one sees that always a consensus develops in the political circles on the proposals of providing reservations for SCs, STs or OBCs in new areas, or extending its time limits, though with spread of education and awareness, political empowerment of backward (Dalits and OBCs) has become a reality of present day political life. But so far most of them are opposed to the idea of providing reservations to women, who still belong to the most neglected, vulnerable, exploited and disadvantaged section of society. Most of them still remain victims of illiteracy, ignorance, complete male-domination and discriminatory law. Though they consist of almost 50% of the Indian population, they are very thinly represented in power echelons. It has also been observed that very seldom the benefits of reservation reach up to really needy and deserving persons.

Also no attempt has been done so far so far to de-reserve any group, which has already come up? Actually in identifying the groups eligible to get the benefits of reservations, political expediency plays a major role. Vested interests of powerful lobbies have been responsible for the continuity of reservation policy.

Does it indicate that the consensus either in favor or against reservation is not on account of the consideration for uplifting the submerged sections of society, but is for gaining the favor of voters belonging to numerically strong and powerful pressure groups?

General public regards Reservations or quotas as an evil, basically undemocratic and discriminatory. It can be tolerated only for a while. And in the case of SC/ST/OBC, this for a while has been more than a century. It should be applied only on a temporary basis in order to cover the imbalance and should be abolished, once the desired effect has been achieved.  Sadly, matters have needlessly been complicated by hypocrisy and double speaks. Deep in their heart, most of the educated persons know the grave dangers involved with the Reservation. But the fear of being hauled politically leaves no choice, but to support Reservations, especially when all others are supporting it. Politicians or political parties can not go against the popular current.



August 16, 2008 - Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program |

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