The term “Reservation” has been doing the rounds within the Indian media circuit of late owing to the government decision to implement 27% quota for the OBCs in the educational institutions of higher learning.
The term was initially came into existence during the famous “Poona Pact” of 1932 which demanded the 18% of reserved seats for the Depressed Classes in the Central Legislature.
After that, When our country achieved independence, a large section of the society was leading a miserable life. They had been exploited for ages and the false beliefs in the society at that time further worsened their condition. The government of that day introduced the concept of reservations so that there would be equal progress of all sections of the society. Over the years, the condition of the people of reserved categories has improved at a fast rate while that of the middle class, general or open category people has remained more or less the same. After nearly 60 years of independence now, general category people have started to feel that they are being subjugated and that the odds have been stacked against them. At a time like this, the government’s decision to bring out legislation to implement a 27% quota for OBCs adds further fuel to the fire.
There are a large number of failings in the reasons publicized by the government for implementing this decision. Firstly, the government has rooted its decision in a survey conducted by the Britishers prior to Independence, on the percentage of the OBCs in the population. The reserved category candidates occupy nearly 52% of the government jobs today. Then what is the immediate need to increase the quotas? Though the government would not agree to it, most people feel that this is just another way of wooing the voters.
Among the types of reservation, the most controversial is the Management quota according to the advocaters of Pro-caste reservation. It is also been seriously criticised by leading educationalists as it is a quota based on economic status irrespective of caste, race and religion as anybody who has money can buy a seat. It reserves about 15 % to 50% seats in few private colleges for the students who are decided by the college management’s own criteria. The criteria involves the colleges own entrance exam or minimum %age of 10+2 legally but is often ignored by the college authorities to give lateral access to students giving money in the form of donations which is illegal according to the law. Today, the education system of our country is worst affected with it. Not a single field has been left in our education system which is away from the shadow of the reservation whether you take the Engineering field or the Medical field, infact today in the Medical line the total reservation left for the general category is only 15% after removing all the quotas of SCs, STs, OBCs and other Depressed Classes. In case of engineering, in IITs, there is a strict reservation policy. As per the rules of admission to IITs, 15% of the admitted students must be of the Scheduled Castes, and 7.5% of seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The Other Backward classes have been provided with 27% reservation in effect from 2008 with the consent of the Supreme Court of India.
In a free and fair country, the candidate who is the most worthy should get the opportunity irrespective of his caste, creed and religion. When caste becomes the criteria for selection, how can one expect to get what is honestly due to him. The government argues that it can balance the equation by increasing the number of seats in the educational institutions. But then it is the quality of education that suffers. Before we come to the higher secondary stage none of us even talks of these quotas. Then the process of applying for the entrance exams for the professional courses starts and the seeds of caste get drilled into our minds.
On one side, there is an urgent need to have an honest and talented bunch of people who should take our country onto the path of success and on the other hand, our educational institutions are somehow ruining the future of our country by admitting those people who are good for nothing. They are in one way or the other, are just acquiring the position of those candidates who deserve more than they deserve.
Getting reservations would be a good thing, but the advantage always lies with the “more privileged” section of these backward castes. For instance, most students from backward castes do not reveal the truth about their parents’ income and get the scholarships for education that they wouldn’t get normally. We must also consider what the future of the candidates who acquire education through reservation will be. At present, since the percentage of quotas is small, the employers don’t bother. If the government implements this decision, nearly 50% of the seats will be under reservation. The employers in future might start dividing candidates into reserved and unreserved categories. There are many merited students even from the OBCs and other reserved categories. Wouldn’t it hurt their sentiments if the employers start to look down at them as they have obtained their degrees through reservation?
It is right that some sections have been oppressed for decades, hindering their progress. But the government cannot reverse the process and repair the wrong done in decades with a single move. This decision has occurred mainly as a result of the hype over the high salaries that IIT and IIM graduates have been getting recently. These institutions are seen as places where people can get rich. The government wants to give opportunities to the backward castes to earn similar salaries. But this should not happen at the cost of the quality of education. There is no doubt that when the quality of education suffers, there won’t be such high salaries anyway.
Although Reservation schemes do undermine the quality of education but still they are needed to provide social justice to the most marginalized and underprivileged is our duty and their human right. Reservation will really help these marginalized people to lead successful lives, thus eliminating caste-based discrimination which is still widely prevalent in India especially in the rural areas. (about 60% of Indian population stays in Villages). Reservations are a political necessity in India because vast influential sections of voting population see reservations as beneficial to themselves. All governments have supported maintaining and/or increasing reservations. Reservations are legal and binding. As shown by Gujjar agitations (Rajasthan, 2007–2008), increasing reservations is also essential for peacekeeping in India.
Though it is true that the reservation has ruined the life of many people but on the other hand it has also benefited many lives. Because of reservation only many children of lower caste have got the privilege to compete with the world and to prove their capability. On the other hand the government should also take some measures to improve the situation. The government should have the latest statistics of different categories of people within the society at the present time. Since India has a large population, more institutions which can impart high quality education to the students should be opened in various parts of India and the institutions that we have at present should be upgraded to meet the rising demands. The government should also do something for the economically backward people of the higher castes who have been left to strive for themselves. Let’s be positive and hope the government will consider all these factors and find a solution that is fair and just for all and not try to impose its will on the people.
file:///C:/Documents and Settings/chintu/My Documents/Reservation in the Indian Educational System and its effects.htm
Student, MATS Law School,Aarang, Raipur(C.G.)
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]