India And Democracy: A Story Of Reservations

Posted on August 26, 2012 in Society

By Shaifali Agrawal:

On 21 August, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said “possible solutions” are being explored, to the situation created by the Supreme Court about striking down Uttar Pradesh’s decision to provide quota for SCs, STs and OBCs in government jobs.

Why reservation in government jobs? If reservation in the education system has been effective and resulted as planned, and considering that good education begets good jobs, reservation in jobs would never be required. Moreover, a potential and meritorious backward class person would not want to be seen as getting a job due to reservations when he got it through merit. The caste reservation is derogatory for the reserved castes, sending the message to the OBCs, SCs and STs that they need advantage over general category to fare equal to them.


Why is Congress in favour of reservations? And so much so that it is ready to make amendments in a constitutional bill. In a very ‘politically incorrect’ language, I would call the word “reservation” as having connotations of “the ruling government trying to save their neck” strategy. Why did the reservations, which started for only Dalits, and to be exercised for only ten years, spread to other castes in the first place? For the same reason our respected Prime Minister is thinking about bringing a “legally sustainable” amendment in the Bill. In elections, one party wins over other by a very small margin, so obviously no party would want to lose all its votes from a particular caste or tribe. Only Samajwadi Party is in opposition to the proposal. Other all parties are discussing if the government should ‘rush’ into the bringing of Constitutional amendment Bill or do it slowly after carefully considering all pros and cons.

Politicians, scared of being shown in media as vote-mongers by hook or crook, afraid that their true-colours would be widely revealed, went to multiplexes to have their say at the release of the movie Arakshan. And Punjab and Uttar Pradesh’s government even banned it without seeing it first.

According to former Cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian, bringing in promotions for reservations in government jobs could destroy governance. Seniority and merit should be the only two criteria for a selection for government jobs. Quotas and reservation in educational institutions is understandable, but when it comes to jobs, if proper merit-based selection isn’t made, be ready for a barely efficient country with work getting done at a snail’s speed in government institutions.