Reservations – an Insider’s View
I have always had reservations about reservations. On the other hand, a number of my good friends are quota- beneficiaries. But that doesn’t make reservations go away.
I still tease my mother for not marrying a scheduled caste or tribe or muslim or OBC or kashmiri pandit or even Sikh. She had to go on and marry an upper caste Brahmin, leaving me bereft of all quota advantages. There was nothing called “family planning” in those days perhaps…
Having had the benefit of hearing both sides of the argument and reading about it extensively, I have formed my own moderate opinion. True, I am aggressive person and ergo, my first impulse is that quotas in any shape or size must be done away with. The true cause of OBC/ SC/ ST backwardness is the poor primary education system in our country. According to statistics, only 1% of all girls in rural India complete their education upto twelfth standard.
50% reservation in all institutions of higher learning is a staggering figure. The SC- ST experiment has shown has that merit suffers in the face of reservations. Throwing 50% of our premier college seats to the one-eyed amongst the blind is intellectual suicide.
True these classes are oppressed, discriminated against, but not necessarily deprived. The issue (as most anti-quota organizations will put it) is of deprivation versus discrimination. The question thus, is do you offer admission to a person who has been discriminated against or to a person who is deprived in any possible way (physically or economically)? It is not an easy question to answer. But tangible political gains have shunned this question to the background.
I think (as a born-again moderate) that reservations to the tune of 10% should suffice for discrimination. A higher percentage (maybe 15-20%) might be sought for all sorts of deprived sections. Social discrimination is a much lesser deprivation. After all being an SC-ST-OBC is just not the same as not having one limb. But in premier institutions where seats are scarce, 50% reservation (even with an increase in general category seats) is a sorry joke.
And with benefits like job reservations knocking at our doors, the day is not far when people will proudly (like doctors or PhDs or members of prestigious societies) introduce themselves as “Mr. Ram Kapoor, OBC.”
– Vaibhav Anand
Vaibhav Anand is a 2008 passout from Delhi College of Engineering and a 2010 MBA passout from FMS, Delhi. He is currently working for a Multinational Bank in Delhi. Vaibhav is also the author of the bestselling “If God Went To B-School”. You can reach out to him through Twitter at his handle @vaibrainmaker.