Why Does Our Political Class Harp on the Quota/Reservations Even Now?

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  • The Indian citizens just celebrated the 75th anniversary of independence with much fanfare, revelry, and fervour. The Prime Minister’s clarion call to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav was overwhelmingly endorsed by the citizens adding their bit to the occasion to make it a grand success.  While the entire country was soaked in the festive atmosphere with gay abandon, the time to introspect as to where exactly the nation intends to progress ahead is warranted. Needless to mention, the nation is driven by the increasingly aspirational society not inclined to accept/settle for anything less.

PC: BestMediaInfo Bureau

  • Understand, any society would look forward to opportunities to pursue education, jobs, businesses, or for that matter enterprises without worrying about too many restrictions/regulations. And by upholding the virtues of merits, credentials, and qualifications.  Sadly, the political class irrespective of party affiliations in India is always on the lookout to consolidate the vote banks based on caste equations.  No wonder, we have innumerable castes categorized as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward class, other backward class, most backward class, and of course, minorities.
  • The perpetual clamouring is for quotas and reservations in government employment and educational institutions that see no end. Ostensibly, these measures were introduced as part of affirmative action to ensure the historically oppressed class receives justice as well as level playing fields to stay afloat.  The moot point to ponder over here is whether such measures have run their course in the altered equations of the present-day necessities.  Prima facie, affirmative action to a large extent has benefitted the oppressed class over the years.  However, there is no denying that merit also essays an inalienable role in offering equal opportunities to the deserving.

PC: World bank

  • What’s happening with this line of thinking and policy implementation is the general disenchantment amongst the youngsters from other communities not covered under quotas/reservations. Unfortunately, in India, the quota conversations are still driven largely by politics, univocal politics at that.  Whether it is the Karnataka government passing an ordinance to increase SC and ST quotas, or the Jharkhand government okaying 77% quotas in state government jobs, there is no stopping the political class from pushing ahead.  Recently, the Centre granted ST status to Hattees in Himachal Pradesh.  The common phenomenon observed is that every political dispensation increases the quotas.
  • Of course, the minor difference is in how close to poll dates this happens. Remember, last year a constitution bench struck down a reservation for the Maratha community as going against the 50% ceiling.  Here, the casualty is logic whether it is those who bulldoze quotas for powerful communities or those who raise SC-ST quotas while wailing that 70 years of benefits have been swallowed by a creamy layer.  Tragically, all quotas are chasing a relatively small number of openings in government education and jobs.  None expects them to deliver social uplift but will further deepen social stratification, a negative outcome of affirmative action.  Wake up politicians!