After Patels now Jats have revived and intensified their agitation demanding reservation. Their protests have now taken a seriously violent turn, with the vehicles, petrol pumps being set on fire, highways and train services being disrupted. And all this even after it was found that Jats are not so socially and economically backward and even the SC had rejected their appeal earlier. The reservation system, on the whole, has today taken a wider proportion and is more often “misused” even after 68 years of India’s independence. The system, as it stands today, prevents those students scoring very high percentage of marks (especially belonging to those upper caste who are not covered under the reservation policy) from getting admission and employment as their right. This is because that in the field of education and employment seats and vacancies are “reserved” for SC/STs and other “beneficiaries”, anywhere between 70 and 80 per cent. This is atrocious since most deserving students and candidates even with percentages as high as above 90 and extremely brilliant academic records are deprived of their seats in the engineering, management and medical colleges and institutes and employment too. And, now with the new provision, the SC/STs will get promotion under the quota policy.
In other words, efficiency, merit, sincerity and performance will have no meaning and just by taking advantage of the quota policy, the SC/ST will get promoted to higher grades, even if one proves to be inefficient and an ‘under-performer’. Whereas, the truly meritorious and sincere performer will have to wait for his turn as per the policy of the government or the organization. This will give room for many juniors and under achievers becoming the “boss” or superior to many senior and class performers who are sure to get more demoralized. What is happening, therefore today is that every caste and tribe want to be treated as ST/SC or at least come under the OBC – so that the benefits under the “reservations policy” can be availed of irrespective of the economic and financial background.
Today, it has become a “privilege matter” to be treated as an ST or SC which was not so at least about a decade ago. The extreme extension of reservation by the Indian political leaders and the government, just to appease one community after the other, repeatedly, has now led to the “deprived caste or class” demanding “reservation” as a matter of right. At this rate, the day is not far off when the real upper caste strata (like brahmins etc…) also take their turn to demand to treat them as “ST / SC”, because, today, they feel the heat and are the real ones who are deprived of admissions, jobs etc, due to “Over patronage” of certain caste and communities. Moreover, in our country, it seems, there is no end to the longest list of tribes and caste – every year one caste or the tribe or the other keep rising up to demand reservation!
The solution lies in saying that “enough is enough” and we stopped these politicians from tinkering with the “reservation policy”, year after year and especially on the eve of elections. I don’t understand when our government will do away with this outdated “reservation policy” altogether and when will our politicians stop appeasing the certain sections of the community in the name of “reservation”. Incidentally, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had removed “LPG Subsidy” for those who are earning above 10 Lacs stating they are well off and can afford to forego subsidies. Why not on the same parameter, apply reservation system too–that those earning more than Rs.10 lakhs should not come under and enjoy the benefits of the reservations policy Today only merit should count. What is needed today is “reservation policy based on economic status”. Abolish caste or class or creed or community based reservation altogether. Remove reservations. It’s now or never.
S Krishna Kumar
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)