Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reservations in India


“One 2010 study of 16 of India’s biggest states did look at the effect on poverty in backward groups of their getting quotas of representatives, from 1960 to 2000. The report’s authors, Aimee Chin and Nishith Prakash, say theirs is the only study ever to ask how an affirmative -action policy, of any sort, has affected poverty in India. Their conclusion: for “scheduled tribes”, who are conveniently crowded near one another on electoral maps, greater political clout has indeed led to a small drop in poverty. But for the “scheduled castes”, by contrast, it has made absolutely no difference at all.”

This is the concluding paragraph of an article in the latest issue of The Economist.  The article argues that the policy of reservations implemented in India for decades has been ineffective.  The vast majority of the marginalised people who were supposed to have derived the benefits of reservation continue to be poor though their leaders like Mayawati have become filthy rich.  Leaders like Mayawati do little to promote the welfare of her people and spend more money in promoting her party symbol and other icons. 

It is interesting to note that the creamiest layer of the backward sections are in politics.  The system of reservation has not achieved desirable effects in education as well as employment.  It created a few wealthy politicians!  There is a deep irony in this. 

In Tamil Nadu where “over 80% of government jobs are set aside in quotas, despite a Supreme Court ruling that 50% ought to be the maximum,” the outcome is pathetic. 

“The current system is not about equal opportunity, it is about distributing the spoils of state power strictly according to caste, thus perpetuating it,” says the article quoting Pratap Bhanu Mehta, an academic at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi.  This is precisely the malady that afflicts India in general.  We politicise everything and make it rotten.

It is better to eradicate this evil called reservation and let merit reign supreme.  Give opportunities to the marginalised people to acquire good education and leave the rest to fair competition.  Let everyone get an equal and fair opportunity to compete and win on the merits of their qualities.  Let qualities not be suppressed by politics.


23 comments:

  1. In almost no country such stupidity has ever delivered results. They are like the 'opium of the masses' so that people keep protesting for it and their real issues(roti, kapda, makaan) continue to be neglected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Politicians are responsible for this situation, isn't it, Sid? The masses are helpless.

      Delete
  2. Agree with you Sir ... a valid point projected ...besides there are few takers on it ...

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  3. "...let merit reign supreme"
    Merit never and nowhere reigned supreme ...

    The faster we recognized this the better off we will be.

    RE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now you know why I am accused of being an idealist.

      Delete
  4. Reservation should be limited to 2 generations and not beyond that. If I get a good govt job under reservation then why the hell my children need reservation? It should be medically proven that reserved people have less intelligence :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good suggestion, Jahid. There should be some test even to determine who will become our policy makers :)

      Delete
    2. That is OK, but one has to define intelligence first, beyond marks in standardized tests.

      And, to Matheikal, you must define the "our" in your statement. If you take "our" to be the whole population of India, what we have is a truer sample than anything you or I can cook up. The illiterates too "govern" themselves, no less effectively than the literates; they too are intelligent. This is the undercurrent of the book by A Banerjee and Esther Duflo, on poverty and Randomized Control Trails (RCT).


      RE

      Delete
  5. absolutely....even in coleges of my city, this is one huge problem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A serious problem, right? It's a system that yields no good but creates strife among people.

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  6. Reservation is tailor made for the manipulation of opportunistic politicians hence it will continue.

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  7. Reservation is a strong political weapon ,in simple words, sir ! Its the present day social curse like untouchable and caste system was in the last century . It is just the modified version where .. the classification still exists and this time the general class is the sufferer !! :D
    This is something which will never change.Thanks to the opportunist political parties post Independence !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, isn't it, that after decades of implementation it has achieved practically nothing and yet continues to be in practice - even to the extent of 80% in TN and North East?

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  8. Times have changed practices have reversed... it is the turn of non-scheduled tribes and castes to suffer now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a short term problem, Indrani. There's a new kind of caste system already in practice: that of the rich. The affluent are the new Brahmins. But the SCs will go on suffering in that system too!

      [By the way I'm neither an SC nor an ST though I look like one :) ]

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    2. Your choice, Raghuram. I'm learning to joke since laughter is the last option left.

      Delete
  9. Finally I found somebody saying this. I hate reservations because it does nothing but to favor the undeserved. What's wrong in getting a job or an admission on the basis of your own merits? Why do you need crutches to live a life. And more importantly, who is using those crutches? The ones who are already leading a wealthy life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Reservation is an epidemic in India, is there any scope of law in our constitution to end it? It is debated endlessly but how do we stop caste reservations?
    on a lighter note I am attaching Azim Premji's comment on reservation(what if there was reservation in cricket)
    http://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=azim%20premji's%20reservation%20comment&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CEYQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hoaxorfact.com%2FPolitics%2Fwipro-chairman-mr-azim-prem-jis-comment-on-reservation.html&ei=4uj3UePfOM7rrAeBwICoBA&usg=AFQjCNGGaYP78RJiQY_ZlX4inUQ2Pv6lmg

    ReplyDelete

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