RESERVATION IN INDIA
WHAT IS RESERVATION? WHY RESERVATION?
Reservation is a system of affirmative action in India that provides historically and currently neglected groups representation in employment, politics and education by getting them into educational institutions and government jobs. It was proposed by the Indian government to upraise the Social and Economic position of the minority communities and orthodox society. This was intentionally done to achieve the promise of equality enshrined in the constitution. The Article 15 and 16 of the Indian constitution are incidents of guarantees of Equality.
India is the only democratic nation which has reservation policy. Being a multireligious and multilinguistic country, we should have such a policy which brings every community on the same ground. And so, reservation in India is provided to three groups: Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) at the rate of 15%, 7.5% and 27% respectively. Reservation was only for the SCs and the STs but later in 1987, it was extended to OBCs after the implementation of the Mandal Commission report.
Constitutional Provisions regarding Reservations
- Part XVI of the Indian Constitution establishes that certain castes and tribes shall be represented in the Lok Sabha in proportion to their population.
- Articles 15(4) and 16(4) state that the right to equality do not prevent the government from making special provisions in matters of admission to educational institutions or jobs in favour of backward classes, particularly the SCs and STs.
- Article(4A) states that nothing can prevent the state from making any provision for reservation to SCs and STs in matters of promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.
- In the year 2019, the 103rd Constitution Amendment Act was passed empowering both the Centre and the states to provide 10% reservationto the EWS category of society in government jobs and educational institutions.
- The Supreme Court under Article 32 and the High courts under the Article 226 of the Indian Constitution can issue any of the five writs to check and enforce fundamental rights.
Is Reservation good or bad?
Today, we are living in the 21st century and India is the world’s largest democratic nation. It has been 70 years since the reservation policy came into force. But the reserved classes are still backward. Why? “For how many generations would reservation in education and job continue?” It has become a topic of group discussion among us. Of the total Indian population, 65.07% of the people live in rural areas. Caste discrimination is still present in rural areas(mainly), there is still a huge controversy on caste system. So, as long as the caste system is there among us, reservation is needed. In addition to all the controversies, a whole lot of people has been benefitted. You can see there has been an increase in government jobs and government institutions as a greater number of discriminated communities are also taking part. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that it has only positive aspect or only negative aspect; it has both:
- The reservation policy has really helped the backward classes in learning their rights that they can enjoy the right to equality, if there is a violation of their rights, they can fight for the justice.
- Many are ready to fight the open competition rather than going for their reserved quotas
- The caste gap is lowered and it has stopped the rich becoming more richer and the poor becoming poorer.
- It is threatening our national unity as reservation divides our country on the basis of caste, religion and gender.
- Rich backward candidates are being benefitted while those who really need it don’t even know about it.
- It is the biggest enemy of meritocracy. Only 0.7% gets scholarship through merit, rest are reserved. The real talented students belonging to the General category, who are studying hard don’t have a that much opportunity even if they are from financially weak background.
- Politicians are using the reservation system for their vote banks.
What is the solution?
We all should have equal access on the nation’s resources, economy and power. But unfortunately, only a handful of people have got access to these. Reservation is not the only solution, because it will take many generations for the government to reach the needy. There is only one solution which can fix everything in one generation and that is education. This should be done at the earliest possible time because any kind of reservation which lasts for long, will discriminate for sure. Government should provide a quality education to every single child whether they belong to financially weak families or to backward communities, there they will know about their rights. This will help them in uplifting themselves. Second way is‐ Government should make a new rule under which only the needful people will get reservation and this need to be reviewed after a regular time interval, whether it is necessary in certain areas or not.
“Not every DNA carries wealth and intelligence, Not everyone with a Surname needs upliftment.
It’s time to stop being greedy and help the needy, Else cut that lie of mentioning right to equality.”
‐ Debashis Sarmah