Does reservation in the education sector make sense?
If I had to answer this in one word – I’d say, yes.
To understand and answer this question, we have to dig deeper into the history of our society and the injustice and inequality which have existed in our culture for centuries.
Education is the answer to reduce the gap and inequality and make the society equal. A certain part of our society remained deprived of a good education and other basic facilities, and we never heard their voice or gave them an equal opportunity to succeed. After India got independence, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, made a provision for a reservation for the ‘lower’ castes of the society, to bring them into the mainstream.
Slowly, the scenario started changing, and people were seen in positions and places where they have never been seen. People started exercising their rights and benefitted from the policy. After 70 years of Independence, we proclaim to take pride in having a Dalit President, but all is not as good and rosy as it seems.
I visited almost 40 villages in the last 40 months and found some issues which are emerging now. They are:
1. The people who are at the bottom of the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, e.g. those belonging to the scheduled tribes in the hilly regions and villages at the remotest part are still waiting for the change, and the benefits of reservation haven’t reached them.
2. Since independence, the population has increased four folds, but the government failed to generate jobs in proportion. Hence, we have the condition of rising unemployment in India. In this era of high competition, it is generally seen that many deserving people are not able to secure the job they wanted. The people at the receiving end often belong to ‘upper’ castes and are financially stable. Thus, people who are not as privileged end up becoming the victims of reservation, despite the low financial status.
Both the issues discussed above are interlinked and can be solved with some critical thinking, analysis and discussion. Reservation is necessary, but there is a need to expand the area of the reservation.
Some regulation, with this expansion, is required, which can provide somewhat equal opportunities for those who are left behind by the society or due to poor financial status. The government should think of bringing in an income-based reservation, and decide on the upper cap of the reservation that can be availed by one individual/family.
For example: As we often see, a person gets a reservation in the education field first, then while looking for jobs and then maybe, at the time of promotions. This habit of multiple reservations gained by one person is not only restricting other to get equal opportunities, but it also doesn’t fulfil the aim to provide the reservation.
Now, the time has come when the government should sit together with the political parties, NGOs and civil societies and make some constructive and required amendments in reservation policy to solve the problem of the new inequality generated by the policy, which was made to eradicate inequality from our society and country.