Progress Made Under Reservation In India & Its Criticism
In the previous article, we have discussed the Reservation System in India, how it started and chronology of reservation to date. We have also discussed the role played by Indian Judiciary and Legislature in shaping the reservation system that we see today and various amendment acts that altered the original provisions of Reservation. In this article we would be discussing the Progress made under the Reservation system in India, why it is criticized by people belonging from the upper caste, how it is affecting the current educational system, recent agitations in India related to Reservation demanded by various communities and our views.
Progress Made under Reservation System In India
Whatever reason is provided by the groups that oppose reservation but it remains a fact that reservation has helped to increase the representation of the reserved category. In many government institutes, there has been an increase in the proportion of scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, and other backward classes. The data can be categorized as follows:
- Most of the Government Jobs in India are divided into 4 categories: Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D. Class A employees take up 2.2% of the public sector workforce, Class B employees take up 3.3%, Class C employees take up 66.8% and Class D employees take up 27.2% of the public sector workforce. Over the years the representation of SC has increased significantly in all those four types of government jobs which is a promising sign.
Criticism of Reservation System in India
Reservation has been criticized by various groups and people (usually from General Category) from time to time. The main reason given by these groups is that reservation was intended for 10 years only and now it has been 70 years since the policy was implemented. Instead of scrapping the reservations the government is increasing it through various amendments.
- Many people say that reservation is against the constitution of India which says “No discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or sex”, but in India reservation is provided on all of these bases. Second, reservation in India has now shifted from a policy of upliftment to a vote bank politics and no one wants to lose this opportunity. It is to be noted that in the 1950’s a person of SC/ST community who benefited from the reservation, it would be their 5th generation taking the advantage of the same reservation system in 2015.
- National Survey showed that “In India, only 0.7% of scholarships are provided on the basis of merit. Most of the scholarships or aid is available only for OBC, SC, ST, Women, Minorities & Muslims”. This hampers the growth of aspiring students from upward caste who are financially weaker.
Protests & Agitations for Reservation in India
Since the implementation of reservation, there have been many protests especially from people belonging from upper caste as they see it as a direct threat to their educational and carrier growth. There is no doubt that reservation has helped people from the backward community to stand and compete with people of upper caste but at the same time, the policy has been in implementation from such a long time that now people who are already benefited from this system now their 4th and 5th generation are taking advantage. In its initial days, there were protests against reservation but nowadays there are protests for inclusion of some community in OBC, SC or ST category.
Mandal Commission Protest
It started in 1990 when Central Government headed by V.P Singh which recommended 27% reservation for people belonging to Other Backward Class (O.B.C) in public universities and government jobs. Self-immolation was done by Rajiv Goswami and Surinder Singh Chauhan while protesting against Mandal Commission.
2006 Indian anti-reservation protests
The 2006 reservation protest started when the Indian Government decided to implement 27% reservation for OBC community in central and private institutes of higher education. There were series of protests organized by doctors and students against this reservation but it was implemented and these protests slowly died down and eventually ended.
Gujjar Agitation in Rajasthan
The Gujjar agitation started in Rajasthan in 2008 when they demanded a lower Scheduled Tribe status, instead of their current, higher OBC status. Total of 37 people died in these protests.
Patidar Reservation Agitation in Gujrat
The agitation was started by the Patidar community who asked for the status of Other Backward Class. The agitation started in July 2015 in Gujrat and 11 people died in these protests.
Jat Reservation Agitation in Haryana
The Jat reservation agitation started in Haryana in 2016 when the Jat community demanded the inclusion of Jats in OBC category.
Our View on The Progress Made Under Reservation System In India
We know the reservation has been one of the most controversial issues in India and had it been effectively implemented, it would have ceased to exist after 10 years. You would be surprised to know even Babasaheb Ambedkar was not a supporter of reservation and he had stated that it should cease to exist after 10 years of commencement. He believed if the policy is strictly implemented, the secluded group would be able to compete with others. In India, reservations have been implemented for the last 70 years and it is still going on without any review. The poor and the needy belonging to upper castes are the worst sufferers because although they are poor they are not classified as weaker sections and therefore not entitled to special provisions (Except BPL). Also, they lack the power of organized revolution since they do not constitute the group in terms of vote bank. On the other side, a study in Karnataka revealed that 13% of rural Dalits are not able to wear clothes or jewelry of their own choice. Another study in Karnataka revealed that 70% of the Dalits were denied participation in the religious processions. The above example shows both the necessity of reservation as well as the necessity to review that it includes every section of society. Also, discrimination is an area that cannot be handled effectively only by reservation. Inter-Caste marriages should be promoted as they are the best way to reduce the caste barrier. We need strict laws and vigilance to protect the interest of the backward class. Also, we need an expansion of reservations in the judiciary as they have very little representation.
The unwanted consequences of reservation are, it had created divergence within the community and made it difficult for the reserved category to regain the confidence for open competitions. Second, under the new economic policy in which the privatization has been taking place the reservation has started to lose its meaning. It is difficult for the Indian Government to force the reservation policy on the USA based MNC’s and more focus is required on proper education and skill development rather than reservation. The final solution is not to scrape the reservation or to continue it till the Earth lasts but to have a proper update of progress made under reservation. The concept of reservation only up-to 2 generations, reservation on the basis of economic conditions and promoting reservation in case of a girl child and special provision for SC, ST, and OBC belonging to rural areas could be a welcome move. Though in countries like India where fake certificates can be made just by spending 100 Rs it is a difficult task to implement if proper vigilance is done it is not a hard target to achieve. Also, special support is required from people belonging to reserved category and they should not use reservation if they are financially strong but they should allow the same reservation to be used by some needy candidate belonging to the same “caste” or “category”. Remember “No Nation is perfect, it’s perfect because of people living in it.”