Edu-caste Reservations

Posted on May 19, 2010 in Learning+

Tarusha Mittal:

Reservation is an oft debated topic among students and the recent development on the caste based census will have repercussions in all public sectors.

Caste based census has thrown up two sides, as is the case with every issue, there are takers and then there are people who are against the idea.

The two sides of the argument are fairly rational, the takers and that is also the official stance that this sort of exercise, though gigantic, would provide the Government with data that would he rationalise in its own little way the basis of caste based reservation in higher education and all the other policies which have been formulated specifically keeping in mind these backward castes. It would also aid in the five year formulation plan.

The obvious flip side is that caste based census is in a way giving incentive to the casteism based thought process, which is not at all healthy and can be divisive in nature.

Seats are reserved for Schedules Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes (based chiefly on caste at birth) in varying ratio by the central government and state government.

In central government funded higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (Dalit)and Scheduled Tribe (Adivasi) students (15% for SCs, 7.5% for STs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5%, by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs. In AIIMS 14% of seats are reserved for SCs, 8% for STs. In addition, SC/ST students with only 50% scores are eligible. This ratio is followed even in Parliament and all elections where few constituencies are earmarked for those from certain communities. In a few states like Tamil Nadu, the percentage of reservation is 18% for SCs and 1% for STs, being based on local demographics. In Andhra Pradesh, 25% of educational institutes and government jobs for BCs, 15% for SCs, 6% for STs and 4% for Muslims.

Arjun Singh’s sweeping reforms which were termed as Mandal-2 had the country’s youth up in arms against caste based reservation and now, we can say that the findings would provide us a rationale for the aforementioned.

Governments are slaves of the public opinion and hypothetically, if the findings point towards unnecessary leverage being given to a certain caste, then the Government would have to revoke or amend the previous legislation.

The connection between the Education sector and caste based census is immense and in order to justify reservation caste based census is extremely important.

The crux of the situation so to say can be summed up easily, if there’s no caste based census in 2011, there would have been no measurement regarding the number of people belonging to a particular caste and considering the Government has been working on approximations based on the findings of the census of 1931, it seems imperative that this should be done, in order to find new insights. The policy formulation is done on the basis of caste, even today, so we might as well, take this bitter pill and swallow it, in order to make room for amendments and rectifications that might be necessary.

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