Dalits should give up reservations voluntarily, let upper caste enjoy it now. #India@70
The Scheduled Caste & Tribes in India have enjoyed the so called “reservation” benefits. Some of the members of the community have progressed economically to a very well of status. Most are yet to upgrade their economic situations. Even the ones who progressed economically, the benefits are limited to the family only, and may not even benefit the next generation.
While in a normal discourse with an average Indian, irrespective of caste/class/region, one may observe an understanding the citizens is that reservation is intended to uplift the “poor” i.e. SC, ST, NT, etc. and help them progress economically. This is completely untrue. This is the fundamental flaw in most peoples understanding of reservation.
Reservations were intended for SOCIAL acceptance and social elevation of the SC, ST, NT… etc. Reservation is NOT an economic welfare scheme of the government. For economic development, of the poor (without identity of caste), there were many schemes, some still working and most about to die thanks to the neo economic policies of government.
In recent past, the PDS (Public Distribution Network) was very strong and is still in some states. This is an example of helping the poor to feed. The MGNEGRA is another example of livelihood scheme for poor ( not limited to SC ST..etc) Mid Day meal scheme feds school children irrespective of their castes. A closer look at most of the welfare schemes since Independence we see they were intended and directed towards poverty eradication or uplifting the poor. I studied in a private aided school (1988-1998) and my secondary fees per month were Rs. 5 for class 5, Rs 6 for class 6… Rs 10 for class 10. This fee structure was not based on caste. The SC ST had even this small amount waived off.
Today, 70 yrs post-independence, we are at a state where the dominant communities are demanding reservations. If they do a careful study of the last 70 yrs of reservations for the SC ST..etc they would never be demanding reservations.
Post New Economic Policies and opening of the markets, reservations are shrinking. Government sector is outsourcing work and hence the new entities are out of the ambit of reservation. Reservations are limited only to government agencies, hence the total number of jobs with reservation benefits have been declining.
Agriculture is the largest employer, and there is no reservation. Small scale units, shops, factories etc employ a vast number of people, and there is no reservation. So the total number of jobs open for reservation is highly limited and this is narrowing the mind-set of the SC ST to focus only on these jobs and not think beyond.
Most SC ST after completion of their graduation spend a large amount of family resource and their productive years in competitive exams, as they have reservation benefit. But the number of such jobs being limited, the youth spend multiple years to study for such entrance exams. In all these years they are a liability to the family and also do not earn as they are preparing for the exams. The probability to get a job is less and total number of years invested is high. While their upper caste friends, knowing that they won’t get through, focus on other employment opportunities and get going in life, a step ahead for sure. Had there been no reservations, the oppressed class youth would also look out of the box and find employment in various other domains, not limited to government jobs.
While the upper caste cry of seats in colleges (Engineering, Medical etc) They fail to demand more colleges, if there are more colleges the need for reservations shall never arise. Its simple demand supply logic. Currently in Maharashtra, many engineering colleges are shutting down and in recent past no one is complaining of Seats as most do not want to get into engineering. The total number of seats has been higher than the applications received, hence a student has 100% chance to get an engineering seat, if student is ready to relocate or choose a different college. If the same argument is extended to IIT ( i.e. have more IIT’s) most candidates would get through.
Privatisation of education has also been a turning point. No one is challenging another form of reservation i.e. Management Quota. Where in the seat in a medical/engineering college is “reserved” on the basis of “Donation” to the college. There is no debate on merit of such students, most of them shall never seek employment as they already have their business empire set and ready to be inherited.
If today the SC ST.. etc demand the government to revoke reservations, it shall help them look beyond. The best practice could be the Youths themselves accept, there are no reservations, and work towards their goals in life. This shall install a sense of pride in them and community at large. No one shall be critical of them, for coming from reserved quota.
Casteism shall not be eliminated by reservations, but a uppercaste with a reserved seat shall feel inferior to his SC ST counterpart in an open seat. The idea is not to be dominant but accommodative. This shall somewhere bring the idea of level playing and social acceptance to the minds of the upper caste. Wonder how they will accept something which the SC ST has left (hopefully).
At 70 yrs post-independence, we as a nation have not progressed to blur the lines of caste, reservation has strengthened them. The long term objective is annihilation of caste and this will never be achieved as long as reservation exists. Today if the “Reserved Category” give up reservations, they shall come out more strongly than they are able to with the tag of reservation.
I also wish the dominant upper caste rethink as to what exactly they want, reservation in limited jobs or more jobs where there is no need for reservation. Education in limited colleges or more colleges where there wont be need for reservation.
If both castes decide collectively to work towards annihilation of caste, there shall never be need for reservation.