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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Rationale of Policy of Reservation/ affirmative action

“”Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.” Benjamin Disraeli.

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” Blaise Pascal

“Seven social sins : –

– Wealth without work,
– Pleasure without conscience,
– Knowledge without character,
– Commerce without morality,
– Science without humanity, and
– Politics without principles,
– Worship without sacrifice.” Gandhi

“Success formula – C3 (Commitment, Confidence, Compassion) + I2 (Integrity, Ingenuity” Apache

“No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for” Swami Vivekanand

“Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.” Readers Digest

Reservation Policy, before independence known as “Communal Award”, has always been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from its inception in the early twentieth century. People have very strong views in favour or against it. While, some hailed it as a historic step to break the shackles of caste, to bring the downtrodden into the corridors of power, to empower them and thus set right all social and economic imbalances. Opponents of Reservation think that for sustainable development of the submerged society and making them capable to join the mainstream of society, it is not so much protective/paternalistic policies of the government, which are required, but it needs a sincere effort by the government to provide for a sound system of education and training for all. Social changes can not be brought by favoring Reservations for weaker sections of society. It can be brought by changing the mindset of poor people and making them aware, capable and strong enough to be self-reliant. Protective policies like Reservations not only affect adversely the systems, the functioning and efficiency of the institutions responsible for good governance, but also shatters the self-confidence of backward section of society – to stand on their own feet without the crutches of Reservation.


It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, the path od reverse discrimination should not be adopted. The Government has to pay equal attention to the elite sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block their progress/advancement. Besides, one finds many contradictory statements/diverse principles in the Constitution of India. Question arises how to do it?

Contradictory statements in the Constitution

Contradictory statements mentioned in the constitution leaves much to the discretion and fair-mindedness of the authorities. The Constitution framers have dreamt to keep a fine balance between various diverse principles and thus lead the nation to prosperity. However, the ideologies that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, have more or less run out of steam today.

One of such example is the principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. It is up-to the honesty and vision of authorities not to over look the national interest for their political expediency and not to misuse these clauses on efficiency and social-justice. Reservation policy should not be converted into quota system.

Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones

With the passage of time, they proved to be ineffective to solve the real issues of over-population, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society. There is a small, well-organized and influential group of people speaking in the name of majority. In its self-interest, it has spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing “A common enemy” to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for it the faith of the people and help it to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”

It is said, “After every ten years, when Reservations were to be reviewed on the floor of Parliament, every time, reservations has been extended for next 10 years. Many politicians of the day show scant regard to the spirit of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the objective of uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary for them. The means i.e. Reservation Policy, through which the vote-banks can be created, has become the primary and most important mission for them.

Throughout, politicians have been propagating that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and it is their duty to abide it. Series of amendments of the Constitution, in extending the time-frame Reservation for another ten years, appears to be nothing but “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. In fact, the whole exercise of extending it is non-researched and is based on hollow grounds.

Therefore, some people demand for total abolition of Reservation, some for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards.

“Rob the Peter and give it to Paul”

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. It should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that the nation could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

Critics of Reservation say that Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. It is nothing, but to “Rob Peter and give to Paul”. In his book “Theory of Justice”, John Rawls discusses in detail equality, liberty, rights and role of the State. According to him, liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. Rawls says :-

– Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,

 – Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,

 – People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worst off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to “Equal start” is education for all and an open primary school system.

Positive motivation and vision – People of forward class have the proper qualifications, competitiveness and positive motivation, which the backward class people lack. During British period, sensing the demands of the time, the upper and middle castes opted for English education and occupied Government jobs, which were the seats of power. At that time, lower castes were on the way to attain freedom and educational awareness, but remained outside the power structure. Now again the situation has changed. With the start of the third great revolution – the Information Technology revolution – and the collapse of super power USSR, there is a wave in favor of knowledge-based systems and free economy. Again the cream of the society has changed its focus from Government jobs to economic enterprises. The upper castes are adapting themselves to the culture of free economy, while the lower castes are clamoring for the secure salaried jobs, whether in Government or in the private sector.

False promises

In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people. Once the uneven distribution of different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat. Fair-minded persons accept to provide enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise. But they do not consider fixing-up quotas in public institutions as desirable.

Doles/Freebies Cripples people

Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition but only an ideological slogan. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness.

Importance to caste-considerations over economic backwardness

Poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population. Reservation Policy may benefit the affluent members of the beneficiary castes whereas millions of other deprived and low income people remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. The later are also deprived of the access to education and other facilities. The founding fathers dreamt to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law. The State was directed to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections. However, the focus of politician remains on Reservation, which is based on discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy. It is alleged that the Indian society is iniquitous, because it puts too many restrictions on lower castes. However, restrictions on an activity of a person do not mean necessarily depriving or denigrating him. It could be to protect people from mental conflict, to discipline them or to maintain order and harmony in the society. When a person is not mature enough, these restrictions control his impulses and guard him against wrong actions. A matured person attains self-discipline, which restricts his actions. Above all, in Indian society, the higher caste and purer a caste is, more are the restrictions on its activities in the form of self-discipline.

Negative influence on national psyche
There is more stress on Reservation rather than improving the capability of youth through sound education and training and on creating jobs. Leaving Reservation to the discretion of Power- hungry politicians makes it a ploy in their hands, to be used for political expediency, Present-day politicians do not care for principles, or are concerned about downtrodden. Distributive justice means to them fixing up quotas for different sections of society.

Attempt to establish firmly separate identity
Reservations have misled/divided the society into uncompromising water-tight compartments today. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926, Mandalization of society of 1991, or militancy of Dalit Movement – their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits are all examples, where sectional interests have led them increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

A ploy to build electoral base

At present, Reservation policy has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. The most common abuses of Reservation Policy, according to the critics of Reservation, both at the backward class people find it difficult to get an entry Central and State levels are : –

 Started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year.
 SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments numerous times,
 Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
 Reservation is extended to advanced castes as well,
 Creamy layer rule is disregarded,
 Quite often, government scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination,
 Manipulations in recruitment process by political authorities to recruit their own persons,
 Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma, and
 Many people produce fake certificates.

Resentment against Reservations in higher posts in bureaucracy

So long as, “Only a few places” were kept aside for severely disadvantaged people, people accepted it. But 50% or more Reservation created agitation among a section of people. In 1970’s and 1980’s, with the emergence of many sectional political parties in the states and their growing emphasis on Reservations generated resentment against Reservation Policy. In 1990’s, after Mandal, it took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, effecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress the agitation, however, it has left deep scars in public mind.

Game of numbers

Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

The outcome of that it is not based on sound principles. The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Reservation on wrong Ethos

Critics say that Reservation Policy is based on negative ethos, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure, wrong methodology and wrong principles. Access to public office through quota is sought more with an aim to get authority and control over public funds than a desire to serve the national interests. VP Singh had, on 15th August, 1990, clearly said, “In my views, the question of poverty is not financial in nature…The issue does not relate to the treasury but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne, will also control the treasury.” According to them, the following arguments given in support of Reservations are most illogical and inaccurate. Questions arise: –
 Is it a poverty-elevation program?
 Are present generation youth accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors?
 Should there be dilution of minimum professional standards?
 Does it perpetuate casteism? and
 Can it remove the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?

Ideologies around which Reservation Policy revolves
Reservation Policy revolves around the following principles:-

 Principle of Equality
Social justice,
 Exercise of power, and
 Efficiency and merit.

Principle of equality

Reservation Policy believes “All are equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal” The Constitution itself gives equal opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them. The constitution clearly lays down through Article 16, that there shall be equal opportunity for all its citizens, relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. This aspect has been already discussed, in detail, in Chapter V. So long as the applicant, along with others under consideration had been given his chance, it cannot be claimed that equal opportunity had not been given to him. While the authority has been given the freedom to make selection from numerous candidates offering their services, the selection must not be arbitrary. It has to be based upon some reasonable principles required for efficient performance of duties and obligations of a particular service or post.

Article 16(4), on the basis of which the Reservations are given, is an exception, which is to be read along with Article 335. The selection procedures for implementing Reservation Policy could be of four types: –

1. Selection should be among equally qualified persons,
2. Selection among comparable candidates,
3. Selection among unequal candidates and
4. Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates.

The selection procedure, as is practiced in India, does not believe in former two procedures, which fit more with Art 16(4) along with Art. 335 and adopts the later two, which are against the dictates of the Constitution (Art. 335) and the principles of equality Art. 16). The backward candidates, who compete on equal footing, are included not in reserved quota, but in general category. The full quota is filled on relaxed standards.

Consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness does not give the benefit of Reservation to all the poor people on equal terms. Therefore, it undermines the principles of equality.

Ideology of social justice

The main argument in favoring Reservation is “Social justice”, the need to emancipate the under-privileged from centuries-old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. By the World War-II, socialism was the wave that swept the entire world. It was supposed to destroy all inequalities of race, sex, power, position or wealth and to distribute equitably social, material and political resources of the nation. In 1947, many leaders of free India, under the leadership of Pundit Nehru, thought that they would be able to achieve a just and equitable socio-economic order and to remove poverty before long by pursuing policies based on social justice.

“Parrot cry of socialism” – However, at that time, able statesman like Sardar Patel, considered socialist propositions purely theoretical and academic, far away from reality. Sardar Patel ridiculed the “Parrot cry of socialism”. He lashed out against those, who believed that there could be no justice, unless its economy was based on social economy. Or that freedom was meaningless without economic equality and social justice. He said, “Unlike many, who indulge in ‘Parrot cry of socialism’, I have no property of my own. Before you talk of socialism, you must ask yourself, how much wealth you have created by your labour. If you have created nothing, the parrot would have flown, and the cage would be empty. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us, is to learn how to produce more wealth and thereafter, think what to do with it. What the country needs is not “Parrot cry of socialism” but unity and strength. Patel asked the people to realize why England took a very long time to become socialist and why America made no mention of it even now.

Gandhiji’s views – Gandhiji also said, “Socialism will not come by occupying positions of power and by delivering speeches from the platform.” Gandhiji appreciated socialist leaders desire to bring about equality of living standard in society. But advised them first to come together, think what was in the best interest of the country and set people on to constructive work. Giving practical advice to do selfless service to the people and to ensure the straightest and quickest way to achieve a socialist order, Gandhiji said, “ If you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way, in which it can be done. Go and live among the poor in villages, live as they live, be one with village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among village people”.

Entire population cannot be accommodated in power echelons – Equality combined with social justice does not mean that everybody should share political power equally. 900 million people cannot be accommodated in power echelons of the government. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the Government officials. Every-one should do one’s duties sincerely and contribute for social cause according to one’s capacity. Good governance means managing effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, Without any bias, continuously conflicting interests and diverse needs of different sections of society should be looked-after.

Constitution on social justice – When the Constitution was framed in 1950, the words, “Socialism” or “Socialist democracy” were not included in it. It mentioned only “To secure to all its citizen economic justice and equality of status and opportunity”. The influence of the socialistic principles is visible in the Constitutional directives to the Government to: –

 Provide adequate means of livelihood to all its citizens,
 Distribute material resources for common good,
 Avoid concentration of wealth and means of production in the hands of a few, Right to work,
 Equal pay for equal work, to both men and women,
 Living wages for all workers, protection of workers especially children,
 Humane conditions of work, and
 Provide for right to education and public assistance.

Word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, added in 1975 – It was after the death of Sardar Patel that Congress Government bent heavily towards socialist policies. It declared its goal in the form of “Socialistic pattern of society” and subsequently “Democratic socialism” under Nehru’s leadership. The word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, was added in 1975, through 42nd Amendment Act by Indira Gandhi’s government, giving it almost the highest place in the name of equality and “Remove Poverty”. However, it was followed in such a way, that it had done more damage than good.

Exercise of power

The problem of socialism is of performance, not of faith, and the price paid by the nation for this faith has been efficiency and its future prosperity. The change centralized the planning, controls and ownership leading to abuse of power and “Grab more power” attitude. It closed its economy to the world, nationalized industries and services, initiated rigid controls on the private sector and created monopolies in the public sector. In the name of socialism, it created a domineering State controlling the smallest detail of the economic and social life of the people. People were made pigmies and enslaved by politicians, planners and bureaucrats. It did not wipe out poverty, nor created effective distributive system nor equality, but it had led almost to the loss of economic liberty. The political system increased corruption, inefficiency and red-tape. It created a closed, centralized and unproductive system, which suppressed growth. In the name of Welfare State, the Government acquired extraordinary powers to exercise arbitrary control over massive resources. The excessive control made people gradually loose their motivation for hard work. An unfettered market system led to grave economic inequalities, which got transformed into political inequalities.

India practiced so far only phony, fake and tainted social justice – What India has practiced, so far, is a phony, fake and tainted social justice. It has created the politics of appeasement and vote banks, destroyed the work culture, and encouraged separatism everywhere in the society. It has jammed the wheels of morality and conscience. It has developed tentacles of corruption, scams, scandals and callousness in almost every sphere. J Krishnamurthy said, “Working for social welfare is to fill water into a pail that has holes. The more water is poured in it, the more it pours out and the pail remains empty.” The great lesson of the 20th Century, which has been learnt the hard way, is that the government of a nation should not become so beneficent that it undermines people’s will to help themselves and tends to develop inaction and parasitism.

Principle of Efficiency

Pr. Betielle comments, “None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency”. The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, neither achieves welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, causes so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Article 335 of the Constitution – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before government have become very complex in nature. While the administrative work requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people, Reservation favours laxity in appointments/recruitment of officials. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. While dealing with Reservation Policy, the framers of the Constitution were concerned about the efficiency of administration. That is why, there is Article 335. The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution.

Variables on which efficiency depends – Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

 Stress on Quality,
 Merit, and
 Work-culture

• Stress on Quality – Quality is never an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Quality or efficiency is more needed in government sector than any other in order to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. In a product, it is easier to monitor and ensure quality at all stages, than to judge the efficiency of administration.

 How to judge quality – Administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability, the desirable attributes of efficient administration, are difficult to assess for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. The efficiency, quality and attainments in administration are quite often judged through evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.
 Team-work for efficient working, a must – Efficiency definitely requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. Reservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too. It blocks mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.
 Regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained – For providing an efficient administration, the government requires a regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained. The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Amongst, man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. Therefore, the basic requirement for efficiency is ‘the man’ with merit.
 Reservation Policy compromise with efficiency – Reservation Policy has made compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process. Such a step, along with many other reasons, has been taking the nation to perpetual Backwardness. Ju stice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration…”. C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.”
 Ill-effects of this compromise – Ojective of improving the status of Backwards could not be done by lowering the standards of governance, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. The net-effect of this compromise is, that economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Confucius has rightly said “When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
 Work Culture – It is alleged that besides other factors, Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It ultimately effects the efficiency of administration adversely. The work culture of an office depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, cooperation of colleagues, an open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc. It is said that Reservation policy has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts, develop a habit of not working hard and do not value the dignity of labour. The government, which believes in social justice and creating jobs for the people, never bothers to create systems to make them work too. Many Government employees are appointed just to withdraw salary every month. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for some kind of work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely. How to put people to work is a riddle, nobody can solve. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

• The Principle of Merit

 Super symbolic electronic revolution – At present, the world has been passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to adjust accordingly. It demands an extra intelligent network. Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to face the enormous changes?
 The principle of “Meritocracy” gives people access to power at low cost and with honor. It also saves them from manipulations or misuse of money or muscle power. Few years back, it has ensured the entry of middle class people, who neither have capital nor landed property, entered into civil services through competitive examination. A merit based entrance examination into civil services gave them opportunity/incentive to work hard, gain knowledge and get access to power.
 Merit neglected in the name of social-justice – For last four-five decades, the “Merit” in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation. Therefore, any program or reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy through sound system of education and training, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all. Earlier the opportunities for joining modern callings were based on principle of merit and appreciation for knowledge. After developing their faculties, people with talent and enterprise competed on equal footings with white men and made a place for themselves in powerful institutions of governance. For example, even British rulers opinion about Indian administrator VP Menon was quite high. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have called VP Menon as a man of unusual caliber. In him, he found a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. VP is remembered even now as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Robert Fulghum also comments about him, “Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way.”
 Trend of mediocrity – It is said that an efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Toffler suggests that “Power” is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. “Force” was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, “Wealth” in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into “Information technology” era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now. Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore “Knowledge” and “Merit”.
 Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from “Meritocracy” to “Mediocrity”, which means sub-standard service to general public.
 Make weaker sections capable to handle the weapon of power properly – Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through education, awareness and training. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously and protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.
 Talents in India – Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market.
 Brain drain – At present, Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates. The bright and intelligent people compete for 50% of jobs in government – the left over after the reservation. A medical student share his feelings as, “I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) … A country, where merit has no value … can never prosper. One can not do away with injustice by creating more injustice.”
 They prefer private sector or go abroad in search of greener pastures. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their talents/skills.

Brain drain – Every year a large number of highly trained Indians go abroad and are settled there. It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –
 Wider and better job opportunities abroad,
 Good initial opportunities of career,
 Exposure of knowledge,
 Good working conditions,
 Comfortable standard of living, and,
 Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.
Principle of unity – Reservations undermines the principle of unity. The origin of Reservation Policy lies in “Divide and rule”. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through “Communal Awards” and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments, perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Spread of Casteism –

Developments like spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians. Initially, the British tried to convert Indians into Christianity. Their conversion activities were focused on upper castes. They thought that once the upper castes opt for Christianity, other castes would follow. But it did not work, because of the strong character of caste Hindus and faith in their religion. 1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion, who, they found, could easily be swept in large numbers. In order to influence them, British highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century. The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society further increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, having direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them. However, after the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislation. Recently, caste has become the main malady of Indian politics. The renewed emphasis on Reservation with the implementation of Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped the caste tension. The forward castes are fearing reverse discrimination and are withdrawing gradually themselves from public scene. The anti-upper caste wave forgets that the nation also needs the depth of forward castes. They are the agents of national development and national unity. While most of the Backward groups are localized, the upper castes are spread all over India, linking all parts of the nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

 Polorized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide. Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment by politically dividing people into forward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations are ignoring, the sweeping changes that have occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country, after independence. With the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and Constitutional fundamental rights after the Independence have contributed in lessening the rigidities of caste system and gradually wearing out the caste prejudices in social arena to a great extent. The political power has shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P. OBC castes has emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. In modern society, where social status is judged by economic and political power, they are the strongest castes having replaced the upper castes as landowners. Scheduled castes are also making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility. The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.
 Venom against upper castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. The leaders of casteist political parties forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ambedkar and many others with respect. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.
 Backward castes glued to castes identity more firmly -The advocates of Reservations bitterly criticize caste system and desire to establish a casteless society. They want to annihilate caste system, but have failed to find a viable alternative to it. The lower castes are glued to castes more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup. One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called a peon belonging to a caste lower than the BC officer, to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated in drinking the tea and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation in drinking tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the the BC officer had reservations. It shows that Backward castes are not free from caste prejudices and treat persons belonging to castes lower than their own, with contempt.

Past Experience – Politicians with vested interest think that Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections or the fate of Janata Party in 1991 elections shows, that they cannot fool the people for long. Experience of a century old Reservations in the South and half a century old at national level shows that still: –

 More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%,
 About half of the population is illiterate. Official rate of literacy is only 52% after 50 years of independence. The number of educated people is much less,
 More than 60% of Indian children are mal-nourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth,
 Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water,
 Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala,
 Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival, and
 Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.

These are a few examples of non-governance.

Who gets benefited? – One of the major contentions against the Reservation policy is on account of the identification of its beneficiaries. The Reservation policy is supposed to benefit the submerged and deprived people. Instead it helps the elite of some castes declared backward. Caste-based Reservation benefits only a few individuals not necessarily the needy ones and not the entire group. It has been observed that the same families, which had come up after the reformatory process of late 19th century or with the introduction of the protectionist polices, have been cornering the Reservation benefits again and again. The individuals benefited by Reservation are usually cut off from their social bases. In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests have been created and the masses, reeling under poverty, is being cheated.

In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois have been identified as Backwards. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners. If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established communities have been included in Backward caste list. Mr. Vishva Bandhu garduated with MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University and works as a Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He says, one day, “I was pleasently surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I do’nt wish to be listed as Backward.” Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a shock.
There is a large number of people, for whom, 100% job reservation makes no difference. In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla, Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other ciivc facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had any access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for these people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool? It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In real life, neither it is possible, to create a totally equalitarian society, as is demanded by the supporters of Reservation, nor power and authority could be distributed equally at will. It could only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Winding up

Process of de-reservation should start – Earlier some sections of society were lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, not because they were deprived of the opportunities, but because they did not see any immediate use for it. Now they have realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they should be allowed to come up on their own. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the Central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself. Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions.

Division of labor – Division of labour according to the attitude and aptitude of individuals – be it menial or intellectual – is natural, and just.. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be there for everyone, which has already been given by the Constitution itself, in 1950. Each type of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. No work is superior or inferior. Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts are required for progress. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.

Development needs coordinated working of all sections of society – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform. The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive. True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. Similarly, a society functions smoothly and moves constantly towards development, if all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Both weak and strong sections of the society are taken care-of by the State authorities properly. No work is superior or inferior in comparison to any work. There should be a balanced distribution of work between them. Each type of work is valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Undue weight or prestige given to any particular work does not improve the quality of every day life of its people, as has happened in Japan. Too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese are frustrated as they are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work. Each and every section of the society and its work should be acknowledged, as indispensable and proper care should be given to all, for the balanced growth of society as a whole. The society as a whole needs the services of all the sections of the society. There are many advantages of division of labour, like it : –

 Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations,
 Increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes an individual perfect. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
 Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
 Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
 Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
 Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs,
 Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
 Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.

At the end it can be said that some people dream of success and spend their energy in finding out easier way out, while others wake up and work hard at it.

Emerging economic super powers concentrated on development of human resources – The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, lags behind, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals.

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , | 1 Comment

‘Quota system’, ‘Affirmative Action Program’ and ‘Reservations in Government jobs’?

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet “Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work” INTRODUCTION ­ Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of right-conscious people. “Reservation in Government services” – Reservations in government services involves two contradictory principles – one, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. Reservation Policy aims at improving the lot of backward sections of society and empowering them for a better future. For a successful administration the keynote is efficiency, which means right people on right positions at right time. An efficient administration can provide convenience to the public at large, and attain the developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It could secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. However, Reservation policy suggests, as understood by Indian authorities, to appoint less- qualified persons on the crucial positions of power structure by relaxing the standards and fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections. Issues The question arises, is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? Is it not desirable to make weaker sections strong and eligible first and then facilitate their entry into such services of the nation? How can a capable and confident team from amongst vast majority of backward people be prepared to shoulder responsibilities of administration judiciously? What is Reservation Policy Dictionary meaning of Reservations – According to the “New Webster Dictionary”, reservation means “Keeping aside something for some specific purpose.” In the Indian context, Reservation Policy refers to a situation, wherein to uplift the sub-merged section of society, some jobs and other facilities are especially reserved in various institutions/organisations, so that they could be brought back into the national main-stream. Historical background Social systems and values in India – Hindu society was classified in four functional groups known as “Varna” – the Brahmins to preach, the Kshtriyas to rule and defend the community, the Vaishyas to carryon the business and the Shudras to do the menial jobs for the society as a whole. Ancient Indian society was dominated by Hindu community. It had produced an excellent culture. Though there existed no political entity as an Independent Nation-State except for a brief period, but its culture had bound the people of this peninsula for ages from one end to the other. The system worked well for a long time. So much and so, that India was known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’ ( A Bird of Gold) Developed deformity with passage of time – In ancient India, numerous social groups came to India in waves at different points of time and desired to join the mainstream. All of them were assimilated into it without any conversion by giving each one a different caste name. It gave rise to the caste-system. Then Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There had been alien rule in the country for centuries, first of Mughals rule and then of British. As time passed, there developed many distortions. The society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes within each of four Varnas. Disparity and inequality grew amongst them with the passage of time. Pathetic condition of Shudras and untouchables – By the beginning of twentieth century, the most pathetic condition was that of Shudras. They were illiterate and economically deprived. There was discrimination against the Shudras in every sphere of life, from living to work to social status. Worst of all was the position of “Untouchability”. Reformative movements of nineteenth and twentieth centuries – From time to time, nationalist leaders and social reformers tried to remove the inequality and injustice prevalent in the society. At times, the lower caste people themselves rebelled against prejudices. Efforts to uplift them and eliminate all forms of exploitation started with the emergence of Reformative movements during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century like Arya Samaj initiated by Swami Dayanand, or “Achutodhar” by Gandhiji. Intelligentsia of that period gave serious thought to the problem and conveyed the message that the inequality in the society should be finished. It was also impressed upon the masses that “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Annyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness) were the sources of all the evils prevalent in the society. Concurrently, the British government in India chose to help the weaker section of the society by opening up the doors of education for all and bestowing upon them some special concessions and preferences through the policy of fixing up Quotas (former form of ‘Reservation policy’) for different communities in the later half of the Nineteenth century. Start of ‘Quota system’ in India Deprivation no longer acceptable in modern world – Various revolutions like the French revolution, Bolshevik revolution, Industrial revolution and other contemporary developments during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made the people alert and aware of their rights. Misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which were ear liar accepted as one’s lot, were no longer acceptable. Masses desired to get benefitted from the resources of the nation – Masses started wishing that they themselves should be benefited, as much as possible, from the resources of their nation. Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better facilities in life – they demanded protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. Desire to establish a new economic order – The public desired to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker section of society could have better deal. It forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that they got enough opportunities to grow, to their fullest stature. Scene after World-War II – After World War II, “Laissezfaire” theory of government’s function gave way to the concepts of “Welfare State”, and “Development Administration”. These concepts aimed at bringing about “Social, political and economic justice” and “Betterment to the lot of the submerged sections of the society” by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy, in which the downtrodden could have a better deal. With the general acceptance of these concepts all-over the world, the national governments gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”. Specific concessions, protections and assistance were given to the weaker sections of society in one form or the other all-over the world. In India, one of such protections adopted has been “Reservation Policy”. Many Provincial Governments, especially those in the South, had fixed up quotas for different castes and minorities in educational institutions and government jobs. It was done much before Dr. Ambedkar demanded Reservations in Government jobs and separate electorate for the backward castes – a demand conceded by the British Governments in 1932. Interestingly enough the Government of India Act, 1935, did not contain any specific provision for reservation. It, however, contained a few Sections (Section 275 and 298) which indirectly dealt with the subject through “Negative Protection” to those suffering from disability by reasons of race, religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them. The reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950. Scene after Independence There has been a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language in India. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society – socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security­ economic, social and legal. To give underprivileged a fair start – National leaders desired that in the free nation, every individual should be given fair start, equal opportunity and square deal in the struggle for survival, To give these downtrodden a fair start, the Constitution framers allowed the central and state governments to make provisions for reservations for ten years and empowered the Parliament to extend the period, if required. The aim was purely to uplift and absorb lower strata of society into the echelons of power. Primary Goals – After independence, India, being a democratic country pursued the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Social Justice’ after the Independence. The primary goals, set by the Constitution framers, for the independent India were: •To build a self-reliant nation through optimal utilisation of its resources. •To establish an egalitarian and tolerant society based on the principles of justice, social economic and political, and •To ensure to everyone equality of status and opportunity. Views of some of the members of Constituent Assembly •BR Ambedkar – According to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the founder of reservation policy in India, ‘Principle of Varna’ is responsible for start of reservation as a government policy. ‘Varna system’ has divided Hindu society into four groups – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) and Shudras (Avarna Hindus), which included Low Castes, Primitive Tribes, Untouchables and Criminals. It was the pathetic condition of Avarna Hindus, who were far away from the mainstream and progressive influences. Till now, Avarna Hindus were given neither fair start nor equal opportunity nor square deal. According to Ambedkar, lower castes did not have the courage to demand reasonable wages for their labour. They did not hold property (Land or cash) – they were born to work or starve. They were there only to wait, serve and submit. They were there to do or die. •Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir, a member of the Constituent Assembly felt that we had made the Harijans live in very poor condition for hundreds of years. He, therefore, observed during the Constituent Assembly Debate on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men are uplifted.”…. “They should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.” •Shri Subhash Lal Saxena – Shri Subhash Lal Saxena, another member of the Constituent Assembly, said during the Constituent Assembly Debate on same day as Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir i.e. November 27, 1947: “If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to superior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijan should be given all such jobs for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the post of Patwaries, School masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them.” Special clauses in the Constitution to uplift downtrodden There is a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society, socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security­ economic, social and legal. Clauses to take special care – For the emancipation of the ‘Submerged people’ of India, the National leaders thought if independent India made the weak to stand and compete with the strong on equal footing, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Therefore, they authorised the State to take special care of the downtrodden for their advancement through Article 15(4) primarily relating to educational opportunities and Article 16 (4) to job opportunities. Directive principles, through Articles 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46 etc. gave some guidelines to the future Government. In order to bring millions of under-fed, under-read and under-clothed people of free India into the mainstream of national life, Article. 17 of Constitution of India abolished “Untouchability” and made its practice a cognizable offence the most heinous aspect of the Indian society by. Article 15 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, descent, place of birth or any other reason. Reservations for downtrodden – As the things came up, 15% Reservations are given to SCs, 7.5% to ST, 3% to disabled and 1.5% to ex-army-men in the following areas – 1.Political institutions consisting of the elected representatives of the people. 2.Admission in educational institutions. 3.Reservations in jobs. 4.4. Reservations in promotions. Reservations in Government jobs – After implementation of the Constitution, 15% reservations are being given to SCs, 7.5% to STs (initially from 1950 onwards 5%, but now) and 27% to OBCs (after 1992) in jobs under central government. Reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950. All state Governments had their own plans for job-reservations in their respective states and list of beneficiary castes. At provincial level, different state-governments fixed up their own quotas for different castes and communities. Also, candidates, belonging to reserve quota, if succeed to get jobs on their merit, are not counted in the quota list. That means the number could even be more than mentioned above in a year. Besides if the candidates with required qualifications are not found in a particular year, the unfilled vacancies are carried over and added in the next years. These can not be filled with other qualified persons. Started as a temporary measure – Reservation was accepted by the constitution framers as a temporary measure. Article 330 provided for reservation in Legislature for ten years, unless at the end of this period the reservation is continued by an amendment of the Constitution. However, the Constitution was amended again and again in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 to extend this period for another ten years at each instance. Constitution on De-reservation – Before Independence, there was a provision of reservation in government services for Anglo-Indians. Article 336 of the Constitution provided that for the first two years after its start, reservations (in favour of the Anglo-Indians – a minority community) should continue on the basis as before; then during every succeeding period of two years, this reservation is to be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent, so that by the end of ten years all such reservation might cease. Reservations for OBC’s – In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar Commission on Backward Classes and in 1980, MandaI Commission, were appointed to suggest ways to improve the condition of poor people in India. On August, 1990, V.P. Singh’s Government accepted to implement, partially, the suggestions made by MandaI Commission viz. reserving 27% jobs for “Other Backward Castes” in all Central Government institutions or institutions aided by the Central Government. It received a great deal of resistance from the people and at the moment the case for reserving 27% seats in jobs for OBC’s is under litigation in the Supreme Court of India. Condition of Constitution for Reservations While the Constitution framers were dealing with the topic, special provisions relating to certain classes specifically mentions that as far as the government services are concerned “The claims of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of Administration, in the making of the appointments to services and to posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State”. Other Measures taken to uplift submerged sections – Under Article 340 of the Constitution, a Commission is to be appointed by the President to investigate the condition of socially and educationally backward citizens, the difficulties under which they labour, make recommendations for removal of those difficulties and other ameliorative measures needed to be taken. In 1978, a Commission for SC/ST was setup within the Ministry of Horne Affairs to monitor the comprehensive programme and to ensure their all- round development. The financial allocations for the welfare of downtrodden have been increased tremendously after independence. The sincere effort towards their development began with Five Year Plans, which aimed at reducing the imbalances and disparities. The First Five Year Plan identified the problem areas needed to be tackled viz absence of communication, paucity of drinking water, supply and irrigation, education and health facilities and universal poverty etc. Accordingly, many Integrated Development Plans and Sub–Plans were initiated besides reservations. Views of pro-reservationists Policy of reservation has been hailed by it supporters as a “Historic step” the advocates of reservation. To them policy of reservation has been adopted to break the shackles of caste and to improve the lot of the poor masses. Arguments in favour reservation policy – •Under-represented in power echelons – Backward castes constitute about 80% of total population (15% Scheduled Caste, 8% Scheduled Tribes and 52% Other Backward classes), but their representation in the Central Group ‘A’ posts is a paltry 4.69%. Therefore, supporters of reservation policy demand that employment in government services should be on pro-rata basis. •‘Due share’ to lower strata in power echelons – Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram said, “The reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935. Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all reservations would be according to proportion of different castes in the population. My aim is to give reservation (to the upper caste minorities), not to demand it. V.P. Singh has made my job easier.” Ex Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, Prime Minister from Janata Dal, while implementing the MandaI Commission recommendations in August, 1990 said in his independence-day speech, “We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision-making to run country and improve things.” ◦Suppression of downtrodden for centuries – Lower castes had been treated unequally in the past, now they should be given a more than equal status to make empower them. Competition could be just and valid only among equals. Since upper castes had suppressed lower castes on basis of their birth, present generation has to correct age-old imbalances and make reparations by giving downtrodden advantage through reservations. It is a noble and just cause in return for centuries of oppression. ◦Why merit could be diluted? – Forward castes are better educated and settled because of the environment, in which they are brought up. But deprived castes, in absence of proper environment and economic constraints are unable to compete on equal terms with upper castes for jobs in the government, public or private sectors. Besides educational capabilities and economic status, socio-political dominance of upper caste is a powerful factor influencing selection process. Witnessing all these aspects social justice demands that jobs should be shared with backward even at cost of little dilution of meritocracy. ◦‘No’ to economic criteria – On economic criteria for reservations, V.P and his associates oppose the idea, saying that it was introduced in Tamil Nadu in the past, but did not worked there (Times of India news item on September 4, 1990). ◦Foundations of Reservations social, not economic – “All foundations for government’s reservation policy were social, not economic” says Ram Vilas Paswan “Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of the one below it in the social hierarchy…” Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh, a M.P. of Lok Dal says, “Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy. That is why we need representation in the government on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand. These reservations are not for the economic good, but to link backwards with the State.” (India Today, September 30, 1990) ◦To whitewash a bitter historical reality – Swami Agni vesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha had said, “We have created our fractures and schisms – it was not the Mughals, it was not the British, it was the Vedas that consolidated the casteism in Indian culture. We can describe the reservation policy today as palliatives, an attempt to whitewash a bitter historical reality, sitting on a handful of armchair sociologists and pretending the rest of backward India doesn’t exist. That we need is radical social change.” ◦Empowers backwards as a composite pressure group – “Reservations, on the basis of caste, give the backwards an identity as a composite pressure group. This is a concrete achievement, which will help them to unite and fight for equality. Besides, caste is still a dominant factor in Indian social-structure; its existence should be accepted for recognising the under-privilege groups.” (News item in Times of India, September 15, 1990) ◦Merit not a prerogative of upper castes only – Merit is not found in upper castes only. There are many meritorious and talented boys and girls amongst the SC/ST/OBC. They only need proper atmosphere and opportunities for education and employment in order to shine to their full capacity. In old Madras Presidency, there were 100% reservation/job quotas, both for “Forward” and Backward” castes. Today about 68% seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and they are far ahead of other provinces in matter of prosperity and good governance, where there is upper caste domination in administration. ◦Norm of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ – Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-minister says, “There is no such thing as merit in India today, there is only “pull” and “Influence”…. “Merit” is only a term used for the purpose of disruption by agitators.” Shri Paswan asks why forward class does not look towards merit in candidates admitted in institutions of higher learning because of capitation fee or selected for influential posts because of their family background. ◦‘Bearer best knows where shoe pinches’ – V.P. Singh told the nation that society would be served best by filling the civil services by downtrodden as they were the bearers who knew where the shoe pinched. They had the qualities of heart, which the administration of the country needed more than the quality of head. They are committed to the uplift of their brethrens. Syed Shabuddin of the “Insaf party” had said, “In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…. Both intra and inter group disparities must be reduced by Legislative policies. If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having grass-root knowledge of actual problems.” (News item in the Times of India, September 15, 1990) In short, supporters of reservation consider necessary to empower the downtrodden, to reduce economic inequalities, to give them social respectability, to reduce imbalances created due to upper class influence and to break the psychological barrier, to give downtrodden their due share in power structure Views of Anti-reservationists Anti-reservationists doubt the efficacy of Reservation Policy. Reservation has been a source of turmoil in society many a time. They have shown their resentment every-time Parliament had extended the period for reservations. In seventies and eighties, the agitation against reservation policy took a major turn by taking a shape of national movement affecting many parts of the country. The agitation against reservation sparked violently in Gujarat in 1983 and spread to other places when a meritorious physically handicapped student of upper caste was denied admission in MD course and the quota student with much less marks was admitted. Such cases definitely arouse public sentiments and they criticise the government for following the policy blindly. Somehow the authorities were able to suppress it. But scars were left. •Contrary to principles of equality – Reservations are contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. There is something fundamentally wrong with Reservation Policy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are curtailed or negated. It benefits and increases the number of those, who are desirous to find an easier way-out. ◦Genesis of Reservation Policy in “Divide and Rule” dictum – Reservations were first introduced by the British rulers to “Divide” the Indian population and “rule” the nation as long as possible. The British government divided Indians on the basis of caste and community. British rulers, who got alarmed about the increasingly power and influence of Brahmins, purposely propagated myth of tyranny of the “Forward Castes”, especially of Brahmins over rest of the society. Therefore, British rulers pinpointed Brahmins as oppressors and tyrants, who wilfully kept others down. They encouraged anti-Brahmin formations in the South. They started the practice of fixing-up quotas in various educational-institutions and government jobs on one side and separate electorate for religious groups on the other. ◦Destroys unity of nation – Reservations were started in other parts of the country as well for backward communities. Now many politicians and their parties want to increase the percentage and extend its time-frame in order to create vote banks. Like Britishers, politicians and supporters of pro-reservation want to divide the nation, on the basis of caste, community or gender. Like British-rulers, they want grab and hold political power as long as possible. Already, there is a perplexing diversity in India along geography, culture, caste, religion and language lines. They are spreading venom in the heart of each identity against other. If not checked on time, communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of people. ◦Administration requires services of most talented – The task of administration is one of the most difficult. It is so complex that it requires services of most talented, sincere, hardworking and honest people. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against national interests. Reservations in employment contemplates putting those on responsible positions in the government, “Who are not qualified for the job” – (Arun Shourie). And in the process, power passes from meritocracy to mediocracy (Nani Palkiwala). It also means that sub-standard services would be rendered to the general public. ◦Common-men suffer more – The policy of reservation affects adversely the efficiency of administration as a whole. Deteriorating standards of government institutions have already done irreparable damage to the development of SC/ST and OBC communities. The larger objective of eradicating the poverty and bringing the downtrodden in the main-stream could never be achieved by lowering the standards of education or governance. Does reserving a very few places for SC, ST & OBC satisfy the basic needs of millions of underfed, under-clothed and under-read people of India ? ◦Contributions of upper class – Kaka Kalelkar had said in, ‘Note of Dissent of First Backward caste Commission “It would be well, if representatives of the Backward-classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government. Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.” Upper castes are still contributing their share through taxes (the money collected from taxes is supposed to be spent on developmental plans.) Somewhere, they are supporting, elsewhere actively participating in formulating developmental policies of the government. •Quantity of reservation quota – So long as “only a few places” were kept aside for those severely disadvantaged – Harijans and Girijans, the people tolerated the policy as functioning of institutions did not stand much risk of being vitiated and consideration of caste and community were placed under control. But, when V.P. Singh announced to implement 27% for reservation in jobs for OBCs, in addition to 22.5% reservation for SC/STs in government jobs, heart burning and stir against Reservation Policy passed all the limits. The whole nation was in for caste wars. •Ignores merit – Reservation policy as it ignores merit. In 1947, when the Constitution framers were dealing with the reservation policy, they showed clearly their concern for efficiency. Art. 335 directs that ‘reservations for SC/ST should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration.’ In today’s situation when economy is in shambles, inflation has touched 13%, coffers are empty, and common man is suffering due to inefficiency and mal-functioning of the government, the nation can not afford to ignore merit and efficiency. In Private Sector, survival and prosperity depends on merit. It picks up the best talent available in the country from the educational institutions itself by conducting “Campus interviews” and does not allow sub-­standard working. •Discourages development of skills – Reservation has discouraged development of skills, resources and attitudes in SC/STs needed to succeed without the crutches of reservation and has encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit amongst the castes enjoying reservation. •Making people lazy and increases mal-practices – People of lower castes have taken these concessions for granted and expect it to last for ever. It has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Guarantee of share in power structure without much effort develops an attitude never value the dignity of labour and work hard. The reservation policy is adding fuel to this attitude. Obtaining false certification about caste is increasing in order to get the advantage of the limited spoils. It has raised the expectation of others as well. •Short time measure – In many provinces, scheduled castes were enjoying the benefit of reservation in proportion to their population since 1935. SCs were far away from the mainstream on account of “Untouchability” and STs because of “Social isolation due geographical reasons”. Therefore, Constitution extended State patronage to SC/ST for ten years i.e. till 1960, unless at the end of this period the concession is continued by an amendment of the Constitution, which was not very likely. It was hoped that underprivileged would be at least in a position to stand on their feet by 1960.Since then, everything has been changed. •Times have already changed – Successive governments have ignored the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the country over the last 60 years. Through various measures, including Reservation Policy, people of all castes have progressed. Anti Brahmin movements in former Estates of Madras and Bombay had effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force. Lower strata of society had organized themselves, consolidated their economic and acquired political power. Through reservations they have succeeded in occupying position of power. •Shift of power in favour of Backwards – Political power has already shifted in favour of backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and UP, where they constitute nearly 40% of the Legislative strength. At State and local levels, especially in more populous rural areas their influence is continuously growing. Untouchables have made concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and to secure their upward mobility as may be seen in the case of Izhavas of Kerala, Mehars of Maharashtra, Chamars of UP, Meenas of Rajasthan, etc. Radical movement such as that launched by the militants Dalit Panther in Maharashtra have made the emerging strength of the lowest caste felt with increasing effectiveness. •Rigidity of caste wearing out – Rigidity of caste has been gradually wearing out. Introduction of railways, opening of hotels and restaurants, radio, TV and cinema houses have contributed to the relaxation of caste prejudices and rigidities. Besides education and training, land reforms, industrialisation etc have brought awareness amongst backward castes. The end of many practices, which created distances between different castes in the past, is a hopeful sign and guarantee for the future well being of every Indian citizen. •New lease of life to caste – There has been one sphere of Indian life, where caste has not only held its ground but began to strengthen its hold. It has acquired a new lease of life in politics. Politics is the most important sphere of Indian life, where caste has not only held its ground, but began to strengthen its hold. Politicians of Independent India are making its increasing use in politics. •Time for gradual de-legitimization of caste – Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in the Jawahar Lal Nehru University says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual de-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SCs and STs from the reserved quota.” (India Today, September 30, 1990) •‘Past is past’ – Vasant Sathe of Congress (I) says “Reservation is no solution for a crime so many centuries old. Nor it is ethical to punish our present society for the sins of our fore fathers.” It is a law of jungle to hold responsible the present generation for the follies of its previous generations. According to Rule of law the present generation can not be punished for what their forefathers did. •Undermines ‘Principle of Equality’ – Anti-reservationists argue that there was a case to end the quota business in 1960 itself. Yet it has been allowed to continue till today. The Indian Constitution is committed to two different principles both of which relate to equality: ‘principle of equal opportunities’ and “principle of redress’. Now it is over due that ‘principle of equality’ be enforced in its true spirit without any favour. Since policy of reservation undermines the principle of equality, it should be gradually discontinued as had been done in the case of Anglo Indians in accordance with the Article 336 of the Constitution. •Inter and intra caste wars – Reservation policy does not consider all individuals equal. Instead caste becomes the basis to get this privilege. It leads to inter-caste rivalry. Anti-reservationists accuse the pro-preservationists for inciting the caste war by provoking public feelings. Brahmins and upper castes has been pinpointed as an enemy of downtrodden, who have always exploited the downtrodden mercilessly. •Distortion of historical facts – Political adventurers, dictators and fundamental fanatics have distorted the history in the past and used it as a ploy to serve their own selfish or partisan interests. It does not even matter to them, whether their own version of history is real or based on fantasy. When Hitler walked into Sudetanland, he claimed historical authority. When Mussolini attacked Ethopia in 30′s, he quoted history. When Zionists claimed Jeruselem, they tried to justify their act by citing history. When Saddam Hussain walked into Kuwait on August2, 1990, He staked his claim on the basis of raking up old history. And so had happened on August 15, 1990, when V.P. Singh announced 27% reservation for OBCs, it was hailed by his supporters as “A historic decision which will go a long way in giving the rightful share to socially and economically backward castes in the power structure of the country, of which they were denied under the pressure from the vested interests.” •Reasons of backwardness other than caste – At present, submerged section of society does not suffer so much due to discrimination on the basis of caste as for other reasons. Kaka Kalelkar, first Chairman of First Backward class Commission had said, ““If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it (in the past). Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in life and have the advantage of mixing with other people.” •Glamorization of Backwardness –Earlier, backwardness was considered as stigma. People of lower castes attempted to improve mannerism in order to climb up in the ladder of social status. These days, many castes claim for a lower status and want to be included in the list of SC/ST, so that they may taste the fruits of reservation as well. No more any caste is ashamed of being called untouchable or backward. Reservations have created vested interests in the “Backwardness.” Now backwardness is a status symbol, because it eases the position, while one is in search of jobs. Therefore, more and more communities are clamouring for the “Backward class” tag. Those in power find it politically expedient to oblige them. The list of castes wishing for reservations has become very long. Witnessing all this it stands to logic that the beneficiary group should be kept under constant review, so that who have over the years reached a stage where they could survive with dignity without any crutches, could be delisted. •Creamy layer of lower castes at advantage – Benefits of Reservations are confined within the creamy layer of lower strata, while, it was supposed to benefit ‘poorest of the poor’. How can all the 80% downtrodden be accommodated in power echelons by reserving only 49.552% jobs out of 1% of total government jobs available in the country? Naturally, only few people are benefited, others are given only false assurances during the times of elections. •Economic criteria as a basis – Anti-reservationists argue that consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness is not just. Reservations, if it is necessary should be given on the basis of ‘economic criteria’ to all the poor regard less of their caste identity. There should also be an income ceiling for SC/ST and others with the entitlement of their children for reservations in job and admission to educational institutions. Then only really deserving people could be benefited. •Led to Bain drain – Reservation has shaken the confidence of the youth of so called forward class. About 50% reservations in government jobs have left many deserving and intelligent youths unemployed or underemployed. Some of them choose the path of crime or violence. Unemployment has been one of the reasons behind Punjab and Kashmir problems. Many intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get good return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. Reservations have, thus, led to brain drain. It has already squeezed out many meritorious by leading the country to massive brain drain. •Cry for social-Justice? – The attempt to establish a socialistic government does not carry much weight. The USSR a super power of pre-1990 days collapsed like a house of cards, despite having Socialistic government for last 70 years. With all its State control and public support, it could not provide expected relief to its masses. How could socialistic ideals provide relief to the masses in India, where there exists so much corruption and inefficiency in administration? •Feeling of alienation – Creation and perpetuation quotas in educational institutions and jobs has made backward classes alienated from the main stream. It is adversely affecting national solidarity. It is sowing the seeds of hatred among the people and put hindrances on the way of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. Along with it, efficiency or excellence, probity, integrity of institutions and trust, which are required for overall well-being are adversely affected. •Reservations in Government jobs not a political program – Reservation in government jobs need not be made a political programme, which must be done according to the electoral mathematics. It was envisaged to uplift the submerged sections of society and make their future better. Governance is one of the most difficult and specialized tasks. Government employees are supposed to have sufficient professional knowledge and expertise in various disciplines – functional, technical, specialist as well as managerial and generalist – so that they could properly aid and advise the elected representatives of the people and dig for them the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment. For attaining that expertise, they have to be equipped with knowledge in various educational institutions. Therefore, the government should be very careful while recruiting people in government jobs. •If reservations politicians are so keen to give lower castes a share in the power structure of the nation, why not quotas are fixed by law that by rotation, President, Prime Minister, Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Chief minister of every state be selected turn by turn from different castes. In these positions, the representatives of the people are elected or selected and entrusted the power to make decisions for a fix period. If their performance is not satisfactory, they may be removed or changed. But government employees get job-security. Therefore, standard of functioning should not be allowed to fall. Wanchoo Commission Report, 1968, and Railway Reforms Committee Report, 1983, on the working of Railways observed that reservations in jobs and promotions adversely affects the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work and devotion to duty and in-turn the efficiency and the morale of the civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railways, 1968, linked accidents with reservations. These three reports are just about one government department and that too when reservation is only 22.5% for SC/ST. What is going to happen, now when it is 50%? Who would be the ultimate sufferer. It is the innocent public only. Double standard – The government itself has exempted certain services and posts from reservation in order to maintain efficiency, discipline and loyalty to the nation intact such as all the Defence Services, Scientific and technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots and top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs, private secretary to the PM and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members etc. (A Handbook on reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit). It proves that the government maintains double standards. Reservations for women – If any class in India needs reservation on the grounds of social discrimination or under-representation in power echelons, it is only the women in India. How about reserving 50% seats for them in all educational institutions and government jobs? That would be their just share and will not divide the society along the caste lines either. If it cannot be done, then at least 50% of the reserved quota could always be kept aside for women ofrespective castes. Are the politicians prepared to make such provision for women too? In short, Anti-reservationists think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Reservation Policy. It has been criticized for creating many conflicting identities like – majority and minority, backward and forwards, urban and rural, north and south and man and woman etc. It is being extended again and again with an aim to create “Vote-bank” in the garb of helping the needy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are being curtailed or negated. It is a farce in the name of social justice, a slap on the face of education and merit, a vote catching measure and misuse of power by political parties. Views of prominent persons on Reservation Policy At this stage, it would be appropriate to know the views of some eminent persons on reservation. These are as follows: •Mahatma Gandhi – In his book titled “India of my dreams” Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “So far as the reservations in the government departments is concerned, I think, it will be fatal to a good government, if we introduce there the communal spirit for administration to be efficient, it must be always in the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no favouritism.”… “Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community. “… “Those who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the government of the country can only do if they pass the required test.” •Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru – In a letter dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ex-Prime Minister of India wrote, “I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of the traditional rut. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privilege being given to this caste or that group. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the SC/STs. That deserve help, but even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” “This way, lies not only folly but disaster.” •Kaka Kalelkar – As Chairman of the Backward Class Commission, Kaka Kalelkar expressed his views on reservation in education (Backward Class Commission Report, 1956, Vol. I, page X). He wrote: “As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the States will help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.” On page VIII of the same report, he has expressed his views on reservation in government services too, as under: “I am definitely against reservations in government services for any community for the simple reason that the services are not meant for the servants but they are meant for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and these may be found in all the communities. Reservation of posts for certain backward communities would be as strange as reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors what ever their qualifications.” •Chowdhary Charan Singh – Chowdhary Charan Singh, the founder of Lok Dal and charismatic leader of Backward castes and class, wrote: “It must be conceded that reservation on the basis of caste is a vicious principle and creates many problems. More than reservation in recruitment, it is reservation in promotions that has led to great heart burning and great inefficiency in our services. Such reservation whether in favour of Scheduled or Backward castes, was, in my opinion beyond intentions of the founding fathers. Boys belonging to poor families, particularly those, where large section of our people are considered socially inferior for centuries past, are entitled to consideration rather than concessions at the hands of the government of independent India.” •Chowdhary Charan Singh was also against extending reservation to SC/ST beyond 10 years “The intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. … “The Union Government, however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of reservations decades after decades. There should be bars on children of those who have benefited from reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunates could be helped.” (A letter, February 12,1982 to Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) •Professor Andre BeteilIe – Professor Beteille said: “Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice institutional well-being takes the back seat.” “Job reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST, backward classes and minorities – If this argument is believed to be right and acted upon then our institutions can not function as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged.” … “The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level but this would call for patience which no government in India has so far shown.” “A quicker course, whose effects would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly, through reservation of jobs.” (6th T. T. Krishnamachari Memorial lecture on “Distributive Justice & Institutional well-being”, November 11, 1990, the Institute of Economic Growth) •Shri H.M. Seervai – Shri Seervai wrote: “Reservations affect five parties adversely: ◦The State – to whose service persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commissions. ◦The public – As the very phrase “Public servant” shows. ◦The persons – Who are discriminated against, by reservations in favour of members of SC/ST. ◦Members of SC/ST – In whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing reservation quota; and ◦The service – That is each service considered as a whole. (“Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India”, Indian Express, September, 1990) A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications. • Nani A Palkiwala – Shri palkiwala opined that Reservation policy suffers from five fatal flaws: ◦The sub-standard replaces the standard, and the reins of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy. ◦It ignores the reality that there are no backward castes but backward individuals. ◦Reservations in promotion are disastrous enough for the civil administration. ◦It divides the country on caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes. ◦Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of reservation is discrimination in-reverse: it is discrimination against merit and calibre. (“Unity and security of State at stake”, Indian Express, September 14, 1990) •Arun Shourie – Arun Shourie, in an Article titled “This way lies not only folly but disaster” appearing in the Indian Express on August 22, 1990, writes: “A job should be something one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in. It should not be, advancement in it must not be anyone’s by right”. But reservation definitely develops the ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too because of by my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos? •Shri V.P. Singh – In his independence-day speech on August 15th, 1990, Shri V.P. Singh, ex-Prime Minister of India said: “Bureaucracy is an important organ of the power structure and it has a decisive role in the decision-making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things. “ •Ram Vilas paswan – The Dalit Sena president and Janata Party leader, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, in his speech at Benipatti, Madhubani, on December 12, 1987 demanded for amendment to the Constitution to end the prevalent reservation system for Harijans and other backward classes in the Government services and replacing it by right to work for every body…. Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tension in the country. Mr. paswan said that despite Constitutional provisions and related laws, the government at the Centre and State had failed to protect the interest of Harijans. Later on, Paswan became the champion of reservation policy. He advocated reservations in jobs and educational institutions on permanent basis. It should continue till the caste system persists in India. Since caste system can not be put to an end, therefore, there is no justification for finishing the reservation for the downtrodden. •B.D. Sharma – Shri Sharma, the Commissioner for SC/ST has pointed out in his 29th Report, tabled in Parliament on August 31st, 1990, as under: “The policy of reservation in government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases, their condition has further deteriorated. “It is quite clear that even if the policy of positive discrimination were to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will” befall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst as in the case of the SC or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the S.T……” ” The policy of reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section” in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis cannot be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group who remain at the bottom.” An analysis of the issue There are certain basic truths, which needs to be accepted and pay attention to, before taking policy-decisions. Such as: Society as an organic body – Society behaves and develops like an organic body. Each organ does a particular function and coordinated working of all organs together keeps the whole body fit and alive. Like other organic bodies, each and every section of society is an indispensable part of the society, which needs equal attention and proper care for the balanced growth of the society as a whole. Just like in an organic body, weaker parts need special care, but not at the cost of others. So is in the society. Each and every section of the society needs to be assigned a specific function. Each one should perform its respective job. Society needs the services of all sections of the society. The work of any section is neither inferior nor superior to other. Each and every section of society needs to be aware of its indispensability to the whole. A society can move and prosper to its fullest, when each and every section of society does its functions well and lives in harmony; and when there is mutual help, respect and trust amongst the various sections of the society. Society as an organisation – For an efficient and smooth functioning, like an organization, society also needs – •Division of labour – Nobody can do all the work by himself. Division of different functions required in a society is the first requisite. •Grouping of activities – All functions and activities should be so grouped as to avoid confusion. Activities of similar nature or having same objectives are grouped under one section. •Structure – An organization needs a structure with well defined functions. The structure must be simple and easy to understand. It should also ensure continuous growth and, therefore, should not be rigid. •Balance of activities – Proper weight-age to different activities, in proportion to their contribution to organization as a whole, is necessary. No activity should either be over-valued or under-valued. •Team spirit – Relationship between various groups within an organization should be based on the principle of “mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust”. It facilitates better coordination of diverse activities performed by different sections. Smooth relations amongst its constituent’s leads to optimal utilisation of resources and to satisfaction of all its constituent members. •Specialisation – Concentration of a section on the performance of a single task, leads to greater efficiency and more specialisation. Functions need to be assigned on the basis qualifications, skills, attitude and aptitude of its employees. •Creative thinking – A good organisation encourages initiative and creative thinking. •Satisfaction – Organization must be able to satisfy the biological as well as psychological needs of its employees as an individual as well as a group. •Adoption of new technologies and development – An organization helps adopts new improved means of doing things, permits prompt adoption and optimum use of technological advancements. It must avoid nepotism, favouritism and must give an upper hand to merit and talent. Indian society contains all the essentials of a good organisation. Truth about “Varna-system” – “Varna system” along with its castes and sub­-castes is not as bad as has been portrayed earlier by British rulers, now by some leaders and the pro­-reservationists. It is based on principles ‘mutual respect, trust and tolerance for each other’, ‘There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed’ or ‘To each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’. ‘Division of work’ was based on attitude and aptitude of an individual. It has given to India a solid social-structure, which is simple to understand. Above all, it has provided unity of culture which has been able to bind the people of Indian peninsula from one end to the other. Mahatma Gandhi said “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment and one of the main reasons that there is untouchability”. He suggested to encourage education amongst the masses for the growth a self-contained and self-regulated society; all occupations to be given equal respect; people to be encouraged, not to be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations; and difference of income derived from various occupations should be narrowed down to the minimum. “Policy of reservation” lost its validity – “Policy of reservation” adopted by the independent India has lost its value and justification now. Reformatory movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attempts of constitution-framers spread of education and awareness amongst general public. Many changes have come about in the whole atmosphere, in thinking, attitude and aspirations of common-men. Recent technological advancements have made the life of common-men easier and created enormous opportunities to earn more. The experiences of recent past reveal that Policy of reservation has lost its value and justification now because – SC/STs and OBCs emerged as powerful pressure groups – After the green revolution of sixties, the economic and political status of people engaged in agriculture India has improved tremendously. India being an agricultural country, 75% of its population (mostly belonging to SC and OBC categories) is engaged in agricultural sector only. Reforms gave them permanent rights as owners or otherwise. New agricultural technologies, backed by administrative and financial support by governmental agencies, helped them the chance to get out of the trap of poverty. They have organized themselves and emerged as a very powerful pressure group both in the fields of economics and politics. Still, if many SC/STs and OBCs have not been able utilise this opportunity fully, fault lies somewhere else and not in caste system. In their under-nourished faces are written the failures of the successive Governments and their policies that have ignored their actual needs. Caste is no longer a barrier in the matter of jobs – Doors of education have been opened for all. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. Immense choices in matter of occupation – Earlier people were forced to earn their living only by doing their hereditary jobs. But the Constitution of India gave everybody freedom and equal opportunity to select one’s source of earning. Society has accepted the change-over to any profession a person wishes to pursue and for that he has to prove his suitability in the job market. Educational facilities have been provided to them. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. However, sub-merged people of SC/ST community have not so far been able to utilise this opportunity fully. Benefits are benefitting the creamy layer amongst them. Label of Brahmin or Shudra meaningless today – Today, the label of Brahmin or of Shudra does not matter much in choosing a profession. There is no dearth of employment opportunities. From all sections of society, people are acquiring necessary qualifications and are entering into areas of their choice. Experience shows that all are doing well in almost all spheres. Increasing opportunities in service sector – A vacuum has been created in the service sector, when many traditional jobs became obsolete. Jobs in service sector could also fetch a handsome amount of money. Recently some people engaged in this field such as tailors, carpenters, dyers and drycleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even Paanwalas are doing much better than ever before. The key to their success appears to be the very same as elsewhere – hard-work, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skill. Today, in the lure of safe and secure job, easy and quick money, government jobs in local, state or central levels are becoming very popular. That day appears not to be far off when in complex technological society, the white-collared jobs would loose their present attraction and the service sector would get a prominent place. An excellent plumber then may become more admirable than an incompetent scientist. Therefore, instead of disturbing the efficiency and working of the organized sector, the government could concentrate on enormous opportunities of self­ employment available in this sector, and thus helping the downtrodden to establish well themselves in the society. Creamy layer amongst beneficiary groups – On the one hand, it has been experienced that Benefit of reservations is confined within a few dominant and prosperous SC/ST and OBC castes. They have now acquired economic, political and above all muscle power. Many of them make vote banks for the politicians, capture booths during elections and could ask their unfortunate brethren to shut their mouths or to meet the consequences. In certain regions, they themselves have become the exploiters of their unfortunate brethren – suppressing the agricultural labours and are heaping atrocities on Harijans. Efficiency in administration – A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications. It is feared that relaxation in matter of recruitment standard, as reservation policy suggests, adversely affects efficiency of administration. It creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, adversely affects integrity and coordinated efforts of services for development of the nation as a whole. Merit oriented approach in matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind, which gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable. False assurances – Politicians and political parties with vested interests are luring the poor masses by promising them to give government jobs through reservations. Government jobs still fascinate the masses as with it are attached the attraction of fix salary, prestige, power, influence, security of employment and scope to distribute patronage. If without acquiring the needed qualifications and without much effort one can get all these things, no body minds it. Vast reservoir of talents amongst the lower strata of society – There is a vast reservoir of potential/talent amongst backwards as well, only they need opportunities to grow. Their hidden qualifications and capabilities Sound education and training would make aware them aware of their hidden qualifications and their capabilities. Their confidence can be restored, only when they are brought to the level of forward castes people so that they could compete for jobs and promotions on equal terms. Hurt feelings of poor belonging to upper castes – The deprived and poor people, belonging to so called “Forward caste”, feel betrayed by their own Government. They are being victimised because of no fault of their own. ‘Economic criteria’ offers a general formula to help to all extremely poor and underprivileged individuals irrespective of their caste or creed. Many dynamic and talented youths have lost their faith in the government and interest in government jobs. Upright officers do not get a proper atmosphere in the office or reward for their merit, intelligence, hard work and honesty. On the contrary, due to politicization, growing disregard for the work-culture and overstaffing, upright officers are sidetracked. Fixed salary is just sufficient to keep them from hand to mouth. They have to struggle all through their lives – after paying the taxes, meeting their children’s school fees and coping with ever increasing prices of essential items to maintain a decent life style. Backwardness of some, not unique in India only – Backwardness of some sections of society having such massive demographic entities is not peculiar to the Indian conditions only. It is universal phenomena. Every nation has it and adopts its own ways to uplift the sub-merged people. The Chinese approach, in this regard is through education and not through unmeritorious reservation of jobs, as there is no need to create vote banks there. Grooming of downtrodden in India could also be done by providing sound education to them. Already there are many institutes and some more may be opened especially for lower strata of society, where they could study the same syllabi and to go through the same courses as other students from a good background. The students from poor background may take more time to go through the same courses and reach up-to the same standard as others. The process may be slow but is steady. The quality of education should not be allowed to deteriorate at any cost as is being done. Times when Governmental intervention needed – When individuals are proved to be working under special handicap or are not allowed to function freely as citizens, then only the government may intervene irrespective of caste or creed so that deserving persons from all sections of the society may get the needed help. It should punish the culprits strictly and make special provision for advancement of under privileged or handicapped persons. It need not necessarily be in the form of reservations. Reservations have been proved to be disruptive to the peace of the society and unpractical. Conclusion and suggestions The past experiences have made it clear that the remedies suggested through reservation proved worse than evils, the leaders were out to combat. To some, this discrimination is positive and to others, negative and contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. Deserving people get lost amidst the gore and gusto – The faces of poor people, really deserving support from the government, have been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-reservationist movements. ‘Shudras’ have been the life and blood of the Indian society for centuries in the past and led the nation to the ‘Golden Era’. They still provide essential services to the whole community in different disciplines. But in exchange, today, they get very little – not even enough to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives. There is no denial to the fact that for centuries, Shudras have been the life and blood of the Indian society. They have been performing certain traditional standardised services for the whole community. In exchange, as usual, even today they get very little – not enough even to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives. Side effects of Reservation policy – Reservations have developed many side affects. Instead of becoming a viable instrument for the upliftment of the submerged section of the society, it has created vested interests of the powerful lobbies of society. It is serving the interest of those people who do not need it any more and making the administrative machinery sick. Giving additional weapon in weak hands is no remedy. First the hands need to be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through awareness of the surroundings, sound education and-training. Then they themselves without any help from an outside agency will pick up the weapon in their hands and protect themselves and others in the society with it. Education alone can make them more knowledgeable in the fields of their works, more laborious and more confident, so that they could earn enough to live with honour and dignity. Plans needs to be based on real issues – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, other development measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. Downtrodden must be made capable to stand upon their feet and make their due place in the society. Policy of generating confidence and inculcating skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education should be pursued, so that they could be brought to the required intellectual level, do justice to the jobs assigned to them, hold their positions without any complex and live in the society with honour. Only two ends in Governance, ‘nation, and ‘individual’ – The unity and solidarity of the nation demands that its population should not be divided along the lines of different identities i.e. caste, region, language, religion or base – rural or urban – by giving preference or over- protection to one section or group over the other. As Kaka Kalelkar had suggested, while framing policies, government should recognise only two ends – the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole on the other. No sectional or communal grouping should be encouraged to flourish itself in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of the individuals and the solidarity of the nation. Result-oriented action programmes needed – Issues should be identified rationally and result-oriented action programmes needs to be implemented sincerely as suggested by the Planning Commission, various government departments and voluntary organisations. The backwardness of most of the people is due to poverty, illiteracy and many evils that go with it such as ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, health, hygiene etc. These problems can never be solved by making policy of reservation as a major remedial measure. Other remedial measures are required for the development, which could produce desired results within time and cost parameters. More stress should now be given to fair distribution of surplus land and other anti poverty programmes, which could benefit a large number of poor people everywhere if honestly pursued. Reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle” – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, some other measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. It was not only the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, but Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, and Chowdhary Charan Singh, the charismatic leader of backward caste, considered reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle”. Positive steps needed to be taken – More than Reservations is needed to the inculcation of concentrate on skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education. It would make weaker sections to stand upon their own feet and to survive without the crutches of Reservations. It would bring backwards to the required intellectual level, make them capable do justice to the jobs and fulfil their responsibility without any complex. It would ultimately generate confidence in them and live in the society with dignity and honour. Vision of Nehru – The vision of Nehru suggested putting emphasis on education – “The real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education; this includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which don’t add to the strength or health of the body. We have recently made two decisions: one is universal free elementary education that is the base and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls and this applies not merely to literary education but much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls, because it is only they who will raise our standards.” …. “But if we go in for reservation on communal or caste basis we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate.” (Chief Ministers Conference, June 27, 1961,) Authorities like Shri B.D. Sharma, Commissioner for SC/ST, and many others have also opined that policy of reservations in government jobs has not improved the position of the bulk of SC/ST and CECs. Instead it had further developed many problems. Winding up •If India wants to emerge as a strong nation in the world, it should give preference to efficiency, motivation, discipline, tenacity of purpose and will to achieve the desired goals. •It is not the policy of reservation which is required but a policy of generating confidence in backward caste. •Stress should be given to basic education. •No sectional or religious group be allowed grow between the government and the individual. •Really-deserving individuals needing special attention must be identified by assessing their economic condition without any bias. •All help, such as free and extra tuition, subsidised and extra nourishment, residential accommodation etc., to overcome their disabilities and to acquire requisite abilities should be provided •Abilities to shoulder responsibilities at entry point and performance throughout the career should always be given importance. •In postings and promotions, Standard set should apply equally to all and strictly to all. •At no time and at no level, the standard should be allowed to deteriorate. •The method of assessment should be continually honed, so that more meritorious persons could be selected. •Wages should be enough to enable them to work honestly and live in the society with dignity without clamouring for dishonest money. In the words of Shri C. Rajgopalachari, which he said long ago that for any system “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 rules and methods of operation. The caste consciousness is a hard reality. It unites and divides in a very real manner today whatever be our goal and today is most important in matter of administration. Short sighted favouritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be very short-lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to the real efficiency.”

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Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of right-conscious people.

“Reservation in Government…

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February 23, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , | 1 Comment

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 | | Leave a comment

Caste-based reservations in India


It is a humanitarian obligation of any civilized society to bring suitable changes to uplift and empower the submerged sections of society. But there is a big question – have the benefits of reservation reached up to really needy and desrving persons and helped them?

After the independence, overwhelming poverty of millions belonging to lower strata of society and their near absence in echelons of power has led the founding fathers to intervene and make provision for reservations as a temporary measure, but never intended it to continue in perpetuity as Reservation was not the solution to bring the masses into mainstream.

Growth of literacy and awareness, trend in consumerism, increasing consciousness of rights to detriment of duties or responsibilities attached with each right, paternalistic policies and tall promises by politicians have already aroused expectations of people. There is a wide gap between expectations and opportunities to fulfil them. Assertiveness of Dalits and intolerance of backward castes, especially after Mandalisation of politics, quite often led the nation to caste-wars.

First Backward class Commission’s Chairman Kaka Kalelkar had very wisely commented on caste based reservation practiced in India- “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. Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation. All communal and denominational organizations and groupings of lesser and narrower units have to be watched carefully, so that they do not jeopardize the national solidarity and do not weaken the efforts of the nation to serve the various elements in the body politic with equity. 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

i BCC I, para IV.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | | 4 Comments

Non-Brahmin Movement & Reservations in jobs in India

What were the factors and circumstances, which compelled British rulers to conceive the idea of reservations in jobs, can be traced in the history of British rule in India. The origin of Reservation policy lies in the protest of non-Brahmins against the preponderance of Brahmins in the Government services in Madras and Mysore Presidencies. The initial purpose of Reservation was to restrict the Brahmin’s monopoly in Government jobs and make it available to non-Brahmins communities as well.Brahmins, being a non-militant community, did not resist then Reservation/quotas in government jobs. They did not protest against their ouster from Government services and migrated to other areas, where they could get opportunity to prosper.
Mysore Presidency had developed its Reservation policy informally since 1874. Its Government (Between 1874 and 1885) had reserved 20% posts at middle and lower levels for Brahmins and the balance 80% for others. During the period 1881 to 1910, demand for jobs was inspired by the policy of the ‘sons of soil’, because many Tamilian Brahmins had dominated the Government jobs in Princely State of Mysore.
Policy of ‘Divide and Rule – Between 1858 and 1905, the British adopted a policy of “Divide and rule”. During this period, Indians considered modern education and employment in Government or association with the government lucrative and prestigious
The process to divide Indian population into smaller groups started immediately after the British Government took-over the charge from East India Company in 1858.
In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, Indians had to depend on modern education and government jobs, which could enable them to secure respectable positions in the society. The desire to be associated with the Government opened up various channels of confrontation amongst various sections of Indian society. It led to a keen competition between different sections of Indian society. The British rulers took advantage of it and mooted the idea of quota system.
In 1835, introduction of modern education paved way for imperial designs for the British Government.
British rulers tried their best to enflame the differences. They did whatever they could to keep Indians busy with their internal problems and let them rule this country without any distraction. The letter written by Wood to Elgin dated March 3, 1862, confirms that they, “have maintained our (their) power by playing off one part against the other and we (British government in India) must continue to do so. Do what you can, therefore, to prevent all (Indians) having a common feeling”.
Balance of power – Many British administrators including Temple advised the Government to stop the dominance of one or few groups in administration and begin to rely on other groups or castes, in order to keep the balance of power. In 1881 the Government decided to secure a reasonable combination of various races and castes in order to counter Brahmins hold in education and administration.
In 1885, Eutice J Kitts, a British ambassador in Azamgarh listed, for the first time, backward castes and tribes, from 1881 Census. The objective was to give them financial assistance and preferences in education and Government employment at local and provincial level.

For the first time, the government officially recognized caste as a base for the purposes of governance. The practice of “Preferences” in education and jobs later on led to the birth of Reservation Policy. During the Period 1905 to 1940, the British policy of “Divide and rule” blossomed fully. This was also the period, when the idea of Reservation was conceived, experimented and established firmly.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | | 23 Comments


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