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Deresevation of quota system

 

Objective of Reservation policy – It is said that the makers of Indian Constitution regarded reservations as a means rather than as an end. It was intended to be a temporary social subsidy to help the victims of institutionalized inequality, who have suffered social prejudices and historical discrimination in matters of education and employment. The aim was to bring the disadvantaged sections of the society into mainstream.

Provision to review in the Constitution – The Constitution of India has made provision for a review of the reservation system after every ten years. Not only this but envisaged ending gradually the then existing reservations for Anglo-Indians and Muslims. However, after every ten years the politicians found it convenient to further extend the period of reservations without ascertaining through comprehensive social audit, whether reservations have achieved the end they were supposed to achieve. They found the idea of quotas as a convenient tool to create captive and permanent vote banks.

The current political turmoil, to a great extent, is the result of fast changing global scenario and very slow pace of change in Indian Social system. In this turmoil, people of India forget their traditional knowledge and contributions of its philosophers, gurus and seers, from Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanuja to Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekanand and Maharishi Ramana. Throughout its history, the Indian culture believed in assimilation and absorption rather than strife, rivalries and exclusionist attitude. Its moral principles taught self-restraint, self-discipline and rigorous code of conduct.

Modern system of employment – Before British came to India, individuals preferred to pursue traditional profession to earn the livelihood. Modern education, industrialization and modernization gave chaned the system of employment. After the independence, the Constitution itself gave all its citizens equal opportunities and freedom to take up  occupation of ones choice. The functional delineation of caste – distinctions has become irrelevant since knowledge is no longer the monopoly of Brahmins. Under the changed circumstances, there is no justification for Reservation policy to continue with such an insistence. Way back in 1965, Lokur Commission had suggested that the time had come to start the process of dereservation. But, so far it has been postponed.

 Rise in inter castes clashes – Experiences of various states point out that the Reservation policy has added many harmful new dimensions in the national politics. It gave rise to worst form of casteism. Caste related violent incidents have increased tremendously. The majority of clashes are between SCs and OBCs followed by clashes between SCs and forward castes, between forward castes and OBCs and others. The main caste groups involved in clashes and rivalries include Thevars, Nadars, Vanniars (OBC), Adi Dravidas and Pallars (SCs) in Tamil Nadu, Rajput, Brahmins, Bhumihars, Jats (forward castes), Yadavs, gujjars, Kurmis (OBCs), Balmiki, Jatavs, Chamars (SCs) in UP, Kories, Kurmis, Manuals (OBCs), Dalits and Jatavs (SCs in Bihar), Patels, Marathas, Marwaris (Forward Castes), Mali, Kundi Badal (OBCs), Dalit Mahars, Neo Buddhists (SCs) of Maharashtra and Lingayats and Vakkaligas (both forward castes), Kurubas, Nayaks (OBCs) and Dalits of Karnataka.i

 Caste gaining important place in politics -Reservation Policy has made caste very important in the politics and governance of Nation. The most surprising thing is that though Dalits, SCs and OBCs have emerged as dominant pressure groups in political circles, they are not satisfied with their gains. For getting more, they use the caste card. The most strident assertion of caste comes from these sections of the society.

Outcome – The Reservation policy has not only been continued but enlarged quantitatively and qualitatively, both, in the Government of India and in the States. The after effects of the policy, in general terms, have been more or less the same in all the regions. Its manifestations are discussed, briefly, below: –

Apart from other things, Tamil Nadu becomes a classic example of mass-exodus of Brahmins first from Tamil Nadu to other parts of India and then to foreign land, bringing all round prosperity to them because of their intelligence, enterprise and innovation. In the process, the loss has been that of the nation.

In Karnataka, it manifested in insistence of developed castes to remain in OBC list, so that they could avail of the benefits of Reservations.

In Andhra, the disillusion of lower castes, because of the failure of Governments policy to provide any relief to the poor masses, gave rise to Naxalite movement.

Despite centurys old Dalit movement, social equality in Maharashtra is still an illusion and Dalits are still living under pathetic condition.

Gujarat sets an example of its Reservation policy being deeply influenced by acknowledgement of Gujarat electoral calculus.

. Bihar and UP have become the land of caste wars and sharpened Dalit-OBC divides. Casteism has entered into all the spheres of its political and administrative life.

In Rajasthan, some castes, even after attaining enough representation in the Government, insist in remaining in the beneficiaries’ list, thus depriving the really needy persons of the other castes from getting the benefit of Reservation.

It is only Kerala, which has laid stress on the sustainable development of the down trodden through education, which gave them awareness, vision, confidence and status. Instead of adopting a negative attitude by generating enmity between different sections of society, it took the path of positive growth.

These experiences clearly indicate that descheduling of Reservation Policy has become long over due. It is better to be late than never attempting it.

 

i Ministry of Home Affair Report, 1996-97, pp6-7. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 11, 2010 - Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program |

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