RESERVATIONS – A BLESSING OR A BURDEN?

Posted by Sanchi Saxena
May 19, 2017

Self-Published

A practice which was once started 67 years ago, somehow still persists strongly. Isn’t change inevitable? I believe change is vital because we cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.

As a society, everyone should be properly taken care of, and no preferential treatment should be given to some pointlessly. However, this is not the case. Under Article 17, special provisions were made for certain groups which mainly included the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and all this was done to address the inequality that was prevalent at that time. But times have widely changed.

Scheduled Castes form 16.2% of our entire population. About 36.8%  of their population in rural areas and 39.9% of their population in urban areas lives in poverty. This also tells us that 63.2% of their population in rural areas and 60.1% of their population in urban areas is self-sufficient and earns enough to be placed above the poverty line. However, this group of people still enjoys the reservation given to them by the government and raises difficulties for others. This can be observed in the table below:

Total Population of India Total Population of SCs Percentage of the Population of SCs in India Percentage of SCs below the Poverty Line
Rural Areas Urban Areas
1,210,854,977 196,158,506 16.2% 36.8% 39.9%

A similar situation can be seen with Scheduled tribes and Other backward classes (OBC’s) as well, where ST’s form 8.2%  and OBC’s form 35.47% of our population. About 52.7% of the rural population and 66.7% of the urban population of and, 73.3% of the rural population and 68.6% of the urban population of the OBC’s is placed above the poverty line and is self-reliant but still enjoys the reservation provided to it by the government unnecessarily.

Total Population of India Total Population of Percentage of the Population of Percentage of them below the Poverty Line
STs OBCs STs OBCs STs OBCs
Rural Areas Urban Areas Rural Areas Urban Areas
1,210,854,977 99,290,108 429,490,260 8.2% 35.47% 47.3% 33.3% 26.7% 31.4%

However, an entirely different situation can be observed in the case of the people of the general category , where they form 40.127% of our population, out of which 16.1% of their population in rural areas and 16% of their population in urban areas lives in poverty and these people do not receive any special incentives such as reservation from the government and are forced to fend for themselves.

Total Population of India Total Population of the General Category Percentage of the General Category in India Percentage of the General Category below the Poverty Line
Rural Areas Urban Areas
1,210,854,977 485,879,777 40.127% 16.1% 16%

These people who are part of the general category and are also under the poverty line are not eligible for reservations and do not receive any preferential treatment in the case of government jobs, government educational institutes and also promotions in their jobs respectively. A huge population of people who fall under the categories of SC, ST or OBC and do not fall under the poverty line are enjoying reservations needlessly due to which both the uneducated and meritorious students of the general category face difficulties.

The uneducated youth of the general category don’t receive jobs because they are not eligible for reservations and the meritorious youth of the general category do not receive jobs because their seats in institutions are rewarded to the students of the SC, ST and OBC categories. Consequently, only 0.7% of scholarships or student aid in India is based on merit.

But how can we solve this problem? How can India achieve its desired rate of economic growth? the only answer to resolve these problems is to solely provide reservations to the people who fall under the poverty line and have a weak income. Reservations should be based upon the person’s economic and financial status, rather than being based on caste or religion. Other poverty alleviation programs should also be implemented and executed properly so that the need for reservations will decrease.

Hopefully, one day we will realize that on the path of development change is inevitable and that our lives do not get better by chance, but get better by change.

Thank you

* All the statistics used have been carefully extracted by the surveys conducted by the government:

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