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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Why seven chances to OBC -SC asks UPSC

         “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.”

Henery George

There was a news in “Times of India” on page 1, dated  27. 10.09 that “Why do Other Backward Castes get seven chances, SC (Supreme Court) asks UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)”. The time has come when the question needs to be answered honestly why? Not only in regard to OBCs, but also SCs and STs. A general candidate gets only four chances.

There is a proverb that “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than an ignorant satisfied.” And also that “Prescription works, when diagnosis is correct.”


To run the administration of a country smoothly, a band of ‘permanent, paid and professional/capable officers’ —efficient, prompt, just and sympathetic— are required to serve in the different disciplines of bureaucracy/civil services. Civil service is an indispensable part of any government, which provides continuity to it on a long-term basis.

The civil servants not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Due to its exclusive and specialist nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in administration for improving the quality of life, the importance of administrative civil services increases day-by-day. Shri C. Rajagopalachari, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying-down of rules and methods of operation”

Recruitment in Civil services

The systems, procedures and methods for recruitment to the various services are constantly reviewed in order to nurture and utilize the best talents in the country.

Age Limits for Civil Services Examination

A candidate must be between the age-group of 21 years to 30 years. The upper age limit for civil services examination is relaxed for

  • Candidate belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe – up-to a maximum of five years.
  • Candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes –  up-to a maximum of three years.
  • Individual cases of persons belonging to Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped etc.

SC and ST can take the Civil Services entrance examination up to an age of 35 years and OBCs up to the age of 33 years.

Concession on Attempts at examination

The general category candidates, appearing at the Civil Services Examination, are permitted only four attempts at the examination (for both Prelim and Mains). An attempt at a Civil Services Preliminary Examination is deemed to be an attempt at the Examination. If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, he / she are deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination. Notwithstanding the disqualification / cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination is counted as an attempt.

But there is no restriction on the number of attempts for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates. They can appear every year in examination till they attain the age of 35. The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Class is seven. A physically handicapped gets as many attempts as are available to other non-physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the General Category shall be eligible for seven attempts. The Civil Services relaxation will be available to the physically handicapped candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.

Minimum Educational Qualifications for IAS Exam

The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.

Experience of yester years

The jobs in Central civil services are the most sought-after one. Still over 3-4 lack candidates apply for preliminary tests every year. Its entrance examination is one of the toughest globally. The prolonged examination system has always been more of a rejection than a selection process. With about 50 % reserved quota for SC, ST and OBC, it has become very difficult for general category candidates to enter into Higher Civil Services in Government of India. Now talented youth of non-quota category prefer to join either private sector or go abroad in search of a job, where there is still some recognition and appreciation for their talents. 

As far as for reserved category, experience of yester years has shown again and again that age-relaxation and other concessions given to so-called ‘SC’,’ST’ or ‘OBC’ have not yielded the desired results. Concessions need to be given only to deserving candidates on rational grounds at right time, in right quantity and quality. The way, these concessions have been bestowed to different sections so far, has given rise to many social, political and economic issues, like generating resentment in the hearts of general category candidates or dividing the society into many uncompromising groups.

Political leaders are still trying to treat the ailment of backwardness, born out of illiteracy, ignorance and social oppression through discriminatory policies. They want to entrust power in weak hands without making them strong enough to hold it judiciously. Continuance of quota- system with relaxation in upper age-limit and other concessions to SC/ST/OBC has given birth to anger in the hearts of general category youth against the authorities, who still favor it without any rhyme or reason, not because downtrodden are benefitting or would benefit from them, but because it only serves the vested interests of a few.

Time and again people do ask why even today age relaxation and seven to nine-ten attempts are being given to the candidates belonging to OBC or SC/ST categories in Competitive Examination conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) for entering into higher civil (government) services in India. Leave aside the public, even institution like Supreme Court has also asked the government “Why do Other Backward Castes get seven chances, when a general candidate gets only four chances – SC (Supreme Court) asks UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)”, Times of India” on page 1, dated, 27.10.09. Time has come, when the government needs to review its policy in this regard.


Does it still hold valid in the year 2011? Have these concessions empowered or improved the overall position of submerged sections of society? Is not the Article 16(4) of the constitution being misused for vested interests of politicians, political parties and powerful lobbies of society? Are quota people still justified in asserting their claim for age relaxation, lowering of standards and other concessions for getting easy access in the higher government services and move up into the ladder of their career without hindrance and much effort? Time has come when the answer to these questions should be found out.

The reasons for concessions in 1947

Situation at the time of Independence – When India got independence in 1947, the exploitative British rule had already drained much of India’s wealth, left it divided and bleeding from the partition of the country, which made millions of Indians impoverished and homeless. There existed a noticeable inequality between various sections of society. The most vulnerable position was of lower strata of society; tribal and the women at the time of independence. Millions of people in rural, urban and tribal areas were living in abject poverty. The sight of their plight, life-styles and agonies were enough to make one’s hair stand on end. For them, even one full meal was a rare luxury. They were under-fed, under-read and under-clothed. They lacked gainful employment and basic resources of life. They could not live as humans in dignity and in self-respect.

Late-entry into educational institutions – The tragedy with the submerged sections of society was that without any solid support, they were unable to get out of the condition of abject poverty and slave like position, which they were living in. Late entry into educational institutions of the children of downtrodden because of abysmal living conditions and deterioration all round made it difficult to get a graduate degree at the same age as usually the youngsters of well-settled families got. They also took more time to get a graduate degree than general category candidates because of the family background and lack of proper atmosphere. They also found it difficult to compete with general candidates of the same age-group at the same standards; that too in three or four attempts as were given to general category candidates.

Purpose to give concessions – The effort to save the downtrodden from inferiority complex and self-pity, to bring them into the mainstream and to remove the age-old inequalities, either inherited or artificially created, every thing altogether, compelled the fore-fathers to give a little push to empower the marginalized sections of society. Therefore, the authorities of that time gave some concessions to inspire them and make their entry into the echelons of power, easier.

Well-settled sections of society accepted it gracefully at that time. They also found it unfair to deny a large number of people a fair share in the echelons of power and in shaping the destiny of the nation.  For the all-round progress of India and for keeping it united, it was thought necessary to tap and utilize the vast reservoir of human resource. India was having, but could not do so far because of unavoidable circumstances.

Who are backwards?

Before Independence – Up-till the Communal Award of 1932, the British Government at national level consistently refrained itself to giving any section of Indian Society any official classification on the grounds that it would be unfair to stigmatize any group by official acknowledgement of their low status. It considered it unfair because, Owing to social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend to such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes, lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status, make it more desirable, that Government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions” (Indian Statutory Commission, 1930 VI, p 341).

Criteria to decide Backwardness – In July 1934, instructions were issued by an order to schedule a list of people entitled for preferential treatment in matter of education and appointment in Government and special electoral representation. The Government faced difficulties in deciding whom and by what standard must the people be included in the list of backwards.

Problems in deciding – There was no dispute about who were the untouchables in the South and Central Provinces. But northern and eastern states posed the problem – which groups ought to be treated at par with the untouchables of South and West. In Madras, Bombay and Central Provinces, untouchables formed a distinct and separate element of population, but in other provinces, untouchability was linked with unclean occupation. Untouchables were an integral part of the Hindu order.

According to Census 1931 – Hutton, the Census Commissioner had laid down the following tests to separate untouchables from backward i: –

  • Whether the caste or class is served by Brahmins,
  • Whether it was served by barbers, water carriers, tailors etc. who served caste Hindus,
  • Whether it polluted a high caste Hindu by contact or proximity,
  • Whether it was the one from whose hands a caste Hindu cannot take water,
  • Whether it was debarred from using public conveyances,
  • Whether it was debarred from entering into Temples,
  • Even the well educated persons of which caste were not treated on equal terms with that of caste – Hindu in any social intercourse,
  • Whether it was merely depressed on account of its own ignorance, illiteracy or poverty and but for that would be subject to no social disability, and
  • Whether it was depressed on account of the occupation followed and whether but for that occupation, it would be subject to no social disability. (Census of India, 1931 Vol.1, App1, p 472).

After Independence, weaker sections of Indian society

It was a big challenge for the authorities to include large number of population belonging to weaker sections of Indian society into the main stream and tackle their pressing problems.

Scheduled Castes – In 1951, Census showed that the percentage of SCs in the total population was 15.05%. The Government of India reserved 12.5% seats for SC (already enforce) and 5% seats for ST of the total available vacancies in any one year. The percentage of their Reservation was raised to 15% and 7.50% respectively on 25.3.70.

Along with their growing influence in political arena, many SCs in India have become very powerful. Their influence is continuously growing over the years. All the concessions and schemes launched by the government in 1947 have benefitted  a few persons only. Now the powerful lobbies emerged in different communities belonging to this category do not want to free themselves from the clutches of their privileged caste-identity –SC/ST – given to their communities by the government, which entitles them to avail many concessions in different areas. Their opinions prevail, because majority of their caste-men are still very poor or below poverty line, illiterate and ignorant. Most of them lack understanding, vision and awareness.

Scheduled tribes – The total population of ST’s was of ST 6.31% according to 1951 census.  Government of India reserved 5% seats for ST of the total available vacancies in any one year. The percentage of their Reservation was raised 7.50% respectively on 25.3.70.

“Blessed with nature, celebrated by anthropologists and exploited by modern society, this has been the story of tribal. Partly by habitat and geographical isolation and partly on the basis of their distinctive tribal characteristics, they have remained socially isolated and far away from the mainstream. The failure of government to address the needs of the people living in poverty stricken regions or to build public infra-structure and utilities, especially in education and health-care, has given rise to many rebellion outfits in tribal areas, which have capitalized on these factors to build their zone of influence.

OBCs – OBCs form the majority. It comprises mostly rural people, who depend mainly on agriculture for their survival. Till 1992, it was left to provincial governments to look into the interests of OBCs.

At national level, the first Backward Commission, under Kaka Kalelkar’s Chairmanship, was appointed in Jan 1953 by the Government of India, to identify OBCs and recommend measures for their advancement. It submitted its Report in March 1955. It had identified 2399 communities as backwards comprising about 32% of the total population. In designating OBCs, the government had to depend on the existing lists of the state based on castes and communities as units and the list of Ministry of Education. It prescribed four criteria to identify OBCs-

  • Low social position in traditional caste hierarchy.
  • Illiteracy among the majority of a caste.
  • Inadequate or lack of representation in Government service, and
  • Inadequate representation in trade commerce and industry.

OBC’s According to First Backward Class Commission – According to First Backward Class Commission, the castes and communities, which were included in OBC list, were-

  • Communities, which suffered from the stigma of Untouchability.
  • Tribes living far away from the general social order.
  • Groups indulging in crime due to long neglect.
  • Nomads not having social respect.
  • Agricultural and landless laborers.
  • Tenants without occupancy right or with insecure land tenure.
  • Small landowners with uneconomic holdings.
  • Castes engaged in cattle breeding, sheep breeding or fishing or small scale.
  • Artisan and occupational classes without security of employment and sufficient remuneration.
  • Castes not having adequate representation in Government due to lack of education.
  • Socially and educationally backward Muslims, Christians and Sikhs social groupings, occupying low position in social hierarchy.

Second Backward class Commission – In 1977, under Art.340 of the Constitution, Second Backward Class Commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Mr. Mandal. Its report has completely overlooked Kaka Kalelkar’s remark made in 1955 that “The services are not meant for the servants…. But for the service of the society as a whole” and raised the idea of ‘empowerment’ as the aim of reservation and concessions to backward classes.

Mr. VP Singh on reservation for OBC – Mr. VP Singh, then the Prime minister, asserted, The question of poverty is not financial… The issue does not relate to the treasury, but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne will also control the treasury. Occupying throne meant to him Bureaucracy, which is an important organ of power structure and it has a decisive role in decision making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward their share in power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things.”( Times of India, dt. September 2, 1990.) 

Start of Reservations for OBC – The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law. The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the Judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994.

Concessions Given to SCT

In order to increase the number of SC/ST in IAS, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits have been given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –

  • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
  • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail.
  • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
  • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
  • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
  • Pre-entry coaching classes organized by the Government for them.
  • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
  • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less then the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year. This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
  • Reservation in Promotions,

Concessions given to OBC

The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect: –

  • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
  • Number of attempts available to them, within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination, are lesser than that of SC/ST.
  • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs

Women – Women, comprising of 50% of the total population of India represent a vast reservoir of human resource, which still remains untapped and un-utilized. Authorities have paid only lip service to women issues so far.

Discrimination against women – Women have suffered shocking inequalities for centuries and continue to be discriminated against. Most heinous crimes are still done against women irrespective of caste, creed, time or place such as infanticide, feticide, physical abuse, early marriage, illiteracy, unequal rights in marriage, divorce, inheritance, polygamy, inauspicious widowhood with severe disabilities and restrictions, restrictions on widow remarriage or Sati etc.etc. The list is endless. Till very recent past, most on them were illiterate, ignorant and confined them within the four walls of the house for centuries.

Till 1965, married women de-barred – On 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS (Hindustan Times, Milestone, P8, August 15, 1997). As late as 1965, married women were de-barred from appearing in the competitive examination or joining IAS. If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work. (All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).


“Empowerment of weaker sections” – Experiences of more than sixty years show that these concessions for SCT/OBC at national level could not achieve the desired goals. It could not make qualitative change in the pathetic condition of majority of people belonging to weaker sections or could ‘empower’ them so far. Their problems still remain intact. “Empowerment” is only a political slogan as of date. Presence of a few persons of a section in power structure does not change the destiny of its majority. These political campaigns mislead people and betray the cause. Reservation is mirage. It is a benevolent gesture of the authority to tame people. It does not give real benefit to the cause of disadvantaged or help in their emancipation.

Not benefitted the people for whom it was meant – It could not benefit the deprived masses much, for whom it was meant.  It also failed to bring most of them into the mainstream or to improve their status. Still about 48% of Indian population is living below or at poverty line. Poverty and its associated ills like illiteracy, ignorance, sloth; ill-health etc. has adversely affected the lives of millions of Indian people and deprive them from joining the corridors of power. It has always been a big challenge before the government to channelize creatively the energies of the Youth of submerged sections of society.

Addition in the problems of downtrodden – There seems no rationale to give the benefit of age relaxation to SC/ST/OBC now, especially when the age limit has already been extended from 24 years to 30 years for all. Instead of helping these submerged sections of society, it has increased their problems. In fact, age relaxation for SCs, STs and OBCs has generated many social and administrative problems, such as: –

Family burdenA few lucky SCT aspirants are able to manage some financial aid from the government or any other institution to meet their expenses for higher education to meet their expenses for higher education like tuition fee or hostel expenses plus a bit of pocket money from the Government or other institutions or sources. For the rest, their poor parents meet the entire cost for higher education and other expenses up-till they attain the age of 33 or 35, while taking all the attempts. In addition to it, since backward communities practice the system of early marriage, the full responsibility of raising-up the entire families of young aspirants and taking care of their basic needs too falls on the already weak shoulders of their poor, deprived and disadvantaged old parents.

Overcrowding in institutions of higher education – Requirement of graduate degree and to pass time, while preparing for the competitions, most of the youth join Universities and Colleges aimlessly. It has its own adverse affects. It results in over-crowding the Institutions of higher education. There is too much pressure for admissions in the colleges and universities. The academic standards are continuously on decline. Numerous fake institutions are created. It also leads to unbalanced growth in the number of educational institutions, unrest and indiscipline amongst the students and politicization of the temples of learning.

Difficult to train -Late entry into the Service makes the task of training very difficult. When the minds of youth are still at formative stage, entry into a service/profession makes the task to train easy. With the advancement of age, attitude, habits and skills of a fully grown up person hardens and adaptability diminishes. It becomes difficult to unlearn unwanted learning or to change the habits and behaviors in accordance with the future role.

 Waste of Human resourceAge relaxation has also led to the waste of Human resource as well. Every year lacs of youths chase a very limited opening. Amongst them only a minuscule number succeed. Every year, the future of a vast majority of youth belonging to submerged sections gets jeopardized. It appears to be a colossal waste of the energies of the younger generation, while they prepare for the Civil Services examination year after year and try to succeed without much hope for such a long time. The most energetic, impressionable, imaginative and creative prime time of the youth of those candidates, who do not get selected, gets wasted. It could be gainfully utilized through proper career planning. The present system has become a vast machine producing educated unemployment/underemployment.

Frustration of youth The failure generates frustration in the minds of youth. At the age of 33-35, after taking all the attempts, a vast majority of unsuccessful SCT candidates just do not know how to find out new avenues for their future course of action. By that time, it becomes too late for them to find out a job elsewhere or to make a fresh start. It is difficult also for to get an opening elsewhere, for the simple reason that others – general candidates, who are non-beneficiaries of age relaxation advantage – have already occupied the space in other Government posts or in public sector or private sector, five years ago. It makes SCT youth more depressed and helpless.

Frustration of never finding a suitable job, abysmal living conditions and deterioration all round usually result in frustration, which is turn, generates inferiority complex and self-pity, considering themselves incapable of competing by general standards with others. Sometimes their frustration generates anger against others, leading them to violence and agitation. Instead of coming to terms with the situation, they develop an attitude to blame others for their lost opportunities and miseries. Their anger easily finds illusionary base against an “Imaginary-enemy”, sometimes region-wise, sometimes community-wise and sometimes caste-wise or language-wise. Their anger forces many of them to join aggressive political groups to channel their anger and inchoate feelings.


Now in the twenty first century, many people do not understand the rationale of reservation policy. Quite often, question arises in their minds – has the age relaxation for SC, ST or OBC in UPSC competitive examination truly helped these communities to empower themselves or upgraded their social and economic status and led to their sustainable development? No doubt, a very small number of persons, like a few drops in the ocean, have been benefitted by it. But what about the vast majority?

If under-representation is criteria, then why not for women

If any homogeneous group in India deserves special concessions in matter of age relaxation, it is that of women. All the arguments about ‘near absence of in power echelons/seriously under-represented in the echelons of power, discrimination, oppression, exploitation due to their inferior social position in the past’, remaining disadvantaged from time immemorial because of sociological reasons or denial of basic human rights by the socio-political authorities stand valid in the case of women irrespective of caste or creed.

Why women need special attention of the government? – The need of special attention or giving some concessions to women in matter of opportunities arises, not because they are intellectually inferior or not fit enough to take up responsible jobs, but because they have sacrificed the most crucial and energetic years of their life in taking care of the future generation and thus, serving the nation by giving to it confident and good citizens. They, as mothers, cultivate in their children positive qualities, which once imbibed, inevitably become part of one’s nature and provide guidelines for their wholesome behavior pattern in future. For such valuable contribution to the society and the nation, if they could not be rewarded, then at least, they should not be punished.

Democracy demands equal opportunity to all

Granting any exclusive concession to any community or section of society on the basis of government’s policy of Reservation or granting special concessions to some is discriminatory by its very nature. It is a very sensitive issue, because for a few persons, it may yield positive results, but for the rest, it is a negative step. Denial of equal opportunity to any individual in any walk of life simply means denying to its citizens basic human rights to grow, govern and give ones best to the nation. As Irving Kristol has said ‘Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions- it only guarantees equality of opportunity’. Government of a democratic country should always try to ensure for all its citizens equality of opportunity to develop their personality to the fullest regardless of birth, circumstances, gender or race.

Need to Review the policy – The time has come, when the whole scenario should be visualized and analyzed honestly without any bias in the light of present atmosphere. Time has changed. The valid grounds for giving age relaxation and other preferences in matter public employment needs to be reviewed. Can the old arguments of 1947 of near absence of SC/ST/OBC in power echelons or their exploitation still be justified in 2011? Is not the Article 16(4) of the constitution being misused for vested interests of some people? If any section of society deserves age relaxation for the entry into civil services, on the grounds of being disadvantaged from time immemorial, or being busy in a more important job of raising their families and taking care of future citizens to the nation in responsible manner, it is the women only irrespective of caste or creed, not SCs/STs/OBCs.

Way out

Make people capable – To uplift the position of marginalized sections of the society and to include the vast reservoir of human resource, which has still remained untapped and unutilized to a great extent even today, the first step would be to make them capable of holding the power judiciously. It necessitates providing a good and congenial atmosphere for development of their personalities and inculcating in them knowledge, attitude, work-habits and skills through sound education and training..

Inspire the people – The second step would be to inspire submerged sections of society to join the mainstream. It necessitates providing enough job-opportunities and give to them suitable atmosphere to work, which means toning up the system. The traditional values, religious beliefs, socio-economic-political set up and circumstances, which create hurdles on the way of their inclusion in the mainstream, should be removed. The intensity of their adverse affect varies from group to group and from region to region. The task of involving them in developmental tasks/nation building activities needs national determination and political will.

Some other measures needs to be taken to enhance self-esteem and the active participation of SC,ST and OBC along with other sections of society in nation building, like : –

  • First of all, policy makers should accept that liberation means liberation from atrocities.
  • Provide ‘education to all’ in order to inculcate scientific temper and courage to fight against evil social practices. Easy access to Open University and distance education programs could be considered for this purpose,
  • Provide more and more job oriented vocational courses for them,
  • Promote entrepreneurship,
  • Facilitate credit by providing financial assistance,
  • Create awareness to fight social evils and superstitions,
  • Create awareness about the opportunities available to them,
  • As an Economic and industrial measure, reorganizing Village economy like development of livestock, minimum wages, development of rural and cottage industries, handloom industry, village oil industry, coir industry. Village handicrafts etc.
  • Create awareness about the legal infrastructure of the nation, especially the special legal measures to protect them from atrocities and exploitation.

Mr. Kalelkar’s opinion – In his note of dissent Mr. Kalelkar noted- “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other”…. “Mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust are the touchstone, on which all communal and denominational activities will be tested and anything that undermines it, will be expected and brought to book.I (BCC I, para IV)

“The special concession and privileges accorded to Hindu Castes acted as a bait and bribe” and inciting other communities.

“It is only, when a community or a group is proved to be working under a special handicap and is not allowed to freely function as a citizen, that the state may intervene and make a special provision for the advancement of such under privileged and handicapped communities or persons… A general formula for helping all persons to whatever caste or community, they may belong, should be made.” ( BCC I, para VIII).

Mr. Kalelkar concluded that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies, the commission suggested were worse than the evil, they were out to combat. In his letter forwarding the report, Kalelkar remarked I am definitely against Reservation in Government services for any community for the simple reason, that services are not meant for the servants, but they are meant for the service of society as a whole.


October 29, 2009 - Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program |


  1. All those who want to remove reservation have to ask themselves Are they eligible for it.

    Comment by kumar | October 30, 2009 | Reply

    • On the grounds of being seriously under-represented in the echelons of power, discrimination, oppression or denial of basic human rights by the socio-political authorities, if any homogeneous group deserves Reservations, it is the women.

      There is one section of society, which advocates reservations for women in order to empower them and make their entry into the corridor of power easier. Opponents of Reservation for women fear that power will slip out of their hands and therefore are reluctant.

      There is another section which says that solution of bettering women’s lot lies somewhere else, not in Reservations. Reservation has already been proved ineffective to make qualitative change in the pathetic condition of other weaker sections, where problems remained intact. “Empowerment” is only a political slogan as of date. Presence of a few persons of a section in power structure does not change the condition of its majority. These political campaigns mislead people and betray the cause. Reservation is mirage. It is a benevolent gesture of the authority to tame people. It does not give real benefit to the cause of disadvantaged or help in their emancipation.

      Women, who are about 50% of the total Indian population, form a vast reservoir of human talent, which has not been tapped and utilized fully so far. The society needs their empowerment and direct involvement in developmental tasks for a better future.

      There is deep entrenched discrimination against women almost in every walk of life. Discrimination against women starts even before she is born and continues throughout her life. Unfortunately, most of the times, it is her own family and people, who are responsible for it. Women prefer to suffer silently than to go to courts or seek justice in the courts/state authorities or any outside agency.

      Adversities of life arising out of economic, social, psychological and environmental situations affect women’s world worst. During times of war, struggle, unstable economy, natural calamities and infighting amongst various sections of society or inter-group or intra-group clashes, women along-with children are the primary victims and are worst hit.

      Besides it, everyday they have to suffer innuendo physical and emotional violence. The consumerist culture has triggered off increased atrocities, domestic violence and physical assaults on women. It crosses all the borders, age of region, caste, class or community.

      Generally women have to suffer deprivation, humiliation and denial of basic human rights in varying degrees at some point or the other – at every stage and every where, be it a girl child, a married woman, a single woman, a working woman, refugees or women belonging to lower, middle or upper strata of society.

      Still most of the women have confidence in their capacity to face the challenges in life. They believe that for their better, balanced and sustainable development, Reservations would be a retrograde step. Despite all the hardships and deprivations, They have already broken the glass ceiling, achieved success in different spheres and will keep on moving forward in future. Women themselves want to stand on their own merit, improve their base by acquiring knowledge and skills through education and training and to compete with men as equals.

      What is needed for empowering them is to sensitize people and society, because women are new to the world of work. People have still to overcome negative assumptions, prejudices and religious or social practices leading to unproductive ethos. It requires a new way of thinking, in which stereo-typing of man and woman, gives way to a new philosophy that regards all people, irrespective of gender, equal as essential agents of change. It requires clear policies by identifying the specific problem areas and then based on them, the approach for its solution to be followed.

      The need of special attention for women in matter of opportunities arises, not because there is any lacuna in them, but because they have to spend some of the crucial years of their life in the service of humanity and the nation by taking care of the future generation. They, as mothers, cultivate in their children positive qualities, which once imbibed, inevitably become part of one’s nature and provide guidelines for their wholesome behavior pattern in future. For such valuable contribution to the society and the nation, if they could not be rewarded, then at least, they should not be punished.

      Plans for women’s development need to be made very carefully, so that not only they, but also the whole community and nation could benefit. It necessarily involves social mobilization and transformation of outdated patriarchal values. The authorities should concentrate on the following measures for enhancing women’s self-esteem and their active participation in nation building: –

       First of all, policy makers should accept that liberation means liberation from atrocities.

       Provide education to all women in order to inculcate scientific temper and courage to fight against evil social practices. Their easy access to Open University and distance education programs could be considered for this purpose,

       Prepare them to join mainstream at any point of their life by arranging for them short term refresher training and coaching programs in order to fill the gap incurred in their career due to familial liabilities,

       Provide more and more job oriented vocational courses for them,

       Promote enterpreneureship among women,

       Facilitate credit by providing financial assistance,

       Create gender sensitization,

       Create awareness about the opportunities available to them,

       Create awareness about the legal infrastructure of the nation, especially the special legal measures to protect them from atrocities and exploitation, and

       Create supportive infrastructure for working women to enhance their confidence and ensure their security.

      After assessing specific needs of women, the Vth Pay Commission has made certain suggestions, like “Age of recruitment for women employees may be enhanced to 35 years, as by that time in a majority of cases, family commitments would be more manageable and children would be fairly grown up….” It observed, “Representation of women at the supervisory decision-making/managerial levels both in Government and Public Sector Undertakings is very limited… Reservation of jobs for women is one of the ways, in which the problem can be addressed.”

      Other measures suggested by the Pay Commission relate to the concept of flexi-time and flexi-place on trial basis. Voluntary system of option for serving women-employees to work half time for a maximum of six years in a career, when the children are young and family commitments are at the maximum. It also recommended the government to sympathetically take care of their accommodation, nature of posting, transport facilities, child-care facilities at day care centers or crèches etc. It is required, because Indian Women continue to bear the major responsibility for caring for dependent children and elderly relatives and to shoulder other family duties, their increasing participation in work outside home has become inexorably taxing increasing difficulties in balancing work and family responsibilities. In the dual worker families with dependent children, the concerns can range from sheer logistic problems associated with providing proper child-care to emotional challenges tied to not being there, when one’s children are growing.i

      If Government believes in the policy of Reservation for empowerment, it should make for Reservation for women. If it is unable to do it, then it should get rid of Reservation Policy altogether. No other section of the society deserves Reservation more than women on the grounds of deprivation, discrimination and under-representation. If women can do without Reservation, why can not men of other weaker sections?

      i V Pay Commission Report, Volume III, pp1712-1717.

      Comment by latasinha | November 23, 2009 | Reply

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