The Seed of Reservation was sown in India long back in late 19th century by princely states to provide opportunities to all for welfare, employment and making people capable. It was even followed by Britishers in India for which some pacts were signed and it underwent some major changes after the Independence.
The intent was to empower by special provisions to fight off historic oppression, discrimination, inequality, gender bias, untouchability, inadequate representations to enhance social and educational status, and for the betterment and welfare of backward classes, tribes, certain castes, underprivileged underdeveloped and disadvantaged communities mainly Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Backward Classes. This later on also included physically challenged, Kashmiri Migrants, Senior Citizens, Dependents of Army Personnel, Ex-servicemen, etc. and other numerous categories. The benefits also included favor in job promotions, reservation in elected bodies, job vacancies, educational institutions, etc. It was meant to provide support to economically and socially backward classes. But the real meaning and purpose of Reservation is long back seen.
– Reservation – Now and Then –
From quite a time many highly qualified or capable people are taking undue advantage of the quota system to go ahead of others. On the top of that people used to indulge in getting fake category certificates in order to reap benefits of reservation. In much other sense, the reservation is being used as an advantage tool. What about those who are making enormous efforts all the years and at the end they can’t get seats in colleges and jobs because of special privileges provided to category students even those who were equally capable. Reservation and Quota affects admissions in educational institutions for higher studies, jobs, subsidies, concessions, other facilities, etc. Not just that it affects the quality of education as some of the students availing reservation benefits don’t care to make efforts after getting admissions in prestigious institutions and as well as it degrades the spirit of healthy competition. Have you ever wondered what the mentality of some of the people having reservation category is. They start putting in less effort in comparison to their peers because they know they can get things done easier than others. Won’t this be wrong that the reservation in a sense is inhibiting the actual capability and potential of the individuals. Many a times it has been seen that people from rich families are availing reservation benefits and those from non-reservation are struggling the most. In such circumstances many students of general category tend to take extreme step out of this. The highly talented people are forced to seek options beyond India for education and job opportunities. It has consequently created a divide among the population.
Reservation has been highly criticized in some past years. But the issue is very controversial in itself and even the government, protesters and other organizations, etc. don’t dare to speak upfront in fear of the criticisms faced from the activists supporting quota, the protection of self and their families and the politicians don’t try to indulge in order to avoid a setback their vote bank. The Government has lately announced a new bill (123rd Amendment) in Lok Sabha to create a National commission for OBCs with constitutional status and repealing existing NCBC. The UP Government recently became prey of a Facebook viral post stating the government’s decision to end reservation for SC, ST, OBC candidates in private medical colleges while it later turn out that the caste- based reservation never existed in private medical colleges in UP. Recently, the Punjab government has doubled the OBC Quota to 10% in Educational Institutes of the state. Many a times the government is even forced to provide reservation to certain categories be it after the famous Gurjar agitation which witnessed major violence and claimed a number of lives as well or the recent Jat agitation of 2016-2017 where the formal decision is still in progress after the last year’s Jat agitation claimed lives, livelihood, and resulted in inconvenience, large loss of infrastructure and funds, and this year’s Jat protests.
The criteria of providing reservation on the caste and other basis could have been correct when the concept of reservation was started but after all these years many things have been changed. It should not be on the caste basis alone anymore. In fact, that in itself gives rise to Caste Based Discrimination. What about a class-free India? Therefore, the criteria of Reservation itself need to be revised. What can be probably the new criteria to be devised should not be based alone on the category but a combination of factors like income, accessibility, location, education level, and other related facilities for prosperity of individuals in their nearby areas, etc. that can be considered to provide some special privileges. That again would be a big challenge in itself as it would be required to measure each and everything for such a large population and that too in quantifiable terms.
Why those highly capable can’t give up their reservation status. Just like the government is asking people to give up on LPG Subsidy. Again, it’s a matter of big debate in itself. Should this reservation category certificate be removed once a person is capable enough so that others can get benefits more adequately. There can be some criteria after which a particular person won’t be able to avail the benefits of the reservation category. In other sense, by marking them as general we can make some steps towards equality which we are aiming from centuries. If the current system tends to go on, it will make gaps wider and makes inequality a disease. It’s time to find a cure. It may seem to be a cumbersome task at present, but once implemented the real fruits of all this can be reaped by everyone in a prospering environment.