The “Reserved” Ladder To Success

Posted on December 23, 2012

By Shweta Madaan:

The Rajya Sabha recently passed a constitution amendment bill to offer reservation in promotions to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). The Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill was passed with 194 in favour and 10 against it in the 245-member House. A two-thirds majority was required for approving the amendment. The bill is yet to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.


This is a trending topic in the country – should there be quotas in promotion or not? Everyone, irrespective of whether they are in favour of it or against it, is giving out their share of justifications. The ‘pro-reservationists’ believe that they should get reservations because they had been victims of the caste system and look up to reservations as a part of the struggle against this oppression, while ‘anti-reservationists’ are of the opinion that it will lead to social heartburn and disturb the social harmony.

But I am quite baffled owing to this. I think there must be quotas in promotions. This is what comes to my mind after analyzing the representation of these communities in government services. According to a survey, there is very short percentage of reserved categories in government services.



It is just a thing to say that the government is genuinely interested in ending inequality in the system as it is not actually behaving this way. On one hand, it is trying to soothe these categories (which smell of vote politics), and on another hand it is creating a ground for resentment and bitterness towards them because other people will not sit quietly.

I am not advocating 100% quota in promotion. The quality of work cannot be ignored at any cost. The opposition parties are recommending that at least Article 335 of the Constitution — which provides for administrative efficiency — is not deleted. This benefit must be given to only those candidates who are meritorious and efficient. It must not lead people to start thinking that it is a cakewalk for them and they can grab the top position with slight amount hard work. There must be some criteria for differentiating the deserving from the non-deserving; otherwise people will become despondent and complacent.

I feel that although there are means for people to get themselves educated and achieve a good position, equality is lacking somewhere. I have some points to prove my stand:

  • All the higher posts in government are held by forward classes; there is discrimination prevailing in the government machinery.
  • In merit lists, reserved categories are recruited at bottom seniority level. This way, they never get higher policy making posts.
  • Many times, people get promoted to higher posts but after sometime, they get transferred because of what is supposed to be the game of politics (yes, it is true).

The quota in promotions is linked to reservation directly and indirectly. I agree that reservation has done well for the upliftment of underprivileged sections and helped them move up in the economic chain of the society but it has also done some things that are undesirable. Some undeserving people take undue advantage of it and make capital out of it. It is therefore unfair for those who deserve. However, it cannot be guaranteed that this step will prove to be a milestone.

There are a lot of hurdles to be dealt with in developing India. We have to start from scratch. These problems can be abolished if there is equality in the society and education is the solution. Free education must be provided to all those who are economically and socially backwards and give them opportunities to rise and help them in bringing themselves to the forefront. Only then can we build a reservation free India. Only then will the society be an equitable one and people can attain heights without any favouritism. For that, all of us have to unite and support each other, only then we can come out of this caste paradigm.

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