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The Debate Around Caste Based Reservation: Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

Do we still need caste-based reservation, or is it time to let go of this concept?

This thought came to my mind in the context of the Bharat band on April 02, 2018. This is a matter that has been the topic of discussion and debate since decades among almost all generations be it the youth or the elderly community. The topic has been debated and discussed in every part of the country from a tea stall to parliament.

A Bharat band has been organised to challenge the supreme court verdict regarding the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 – an act of parliament enacted to prevent atrocities against SC and ST. As you can see in the news channels every day, despite the atrocities act, social malpractices are prevalent. If the act is diluted where will they go, how will they protect themselves from mental harassment?

An excellent example that comes to my mind to make these points relevant is of Tina Dabi an SC candidate who topped UPSC exam. Some people may say that she topped because she had the ‘privilage of reservation.’ I strongly disagree. Yes, it is true that she came from favourable socio-economic conditions, had educated parents and thus had the facilities required to do well. But, we cannot simply write reservation of based on one example like hers. What we have to think about is if we achieved those socio-economic conditions for even 50% of scheduled castes and tribes? The answer is a big no. And therefore, we do need reservation today.

Article 17 of Indian constitution seeks to abolish untouchability and to forbid all such practices.

Reasons Why People Oppose Reservation

1. They Say That People With Merit Lose Out

People say that reservation is the nightmare of meritorious or general category students. Regarding this, I would like to provide some data to the readers. The SC, ST, OBC population in India is 16.6%, 8.2%, 41% respectively, and there exists a 4.5% sub- quota for minorities.

On the other hand, reservations provided to members of the SC, ST, OBC categories is 15%, 7.5%, 27% respectively.

They comprise of 70% (approx) of the total population, and only 20-30 % of the SCs and STs pursue higher education. Clearly, there exists a great divide between the two. Also, students who have applied through reservations cannot take an unreserved seat, even if they are qualifiying for it.

2. People Say That Most People In The Reserved Catagories Are Well Off

In the government section, 55.84% of total jobs are taken by general category students and 18%, 17.55 %, 8.37% respectively by OBC, SC, ST candidates. 49% of the cleaning and santiation jobs are done by members of SCs and STs. On the other hand, 69% of a-level jobs (IAS, IPS, IRS etc.) are held by the general category students.

Your point is?

3. People Argue That Social Conditions Have Gotten Better

A recent incident of a Dailt youth being murdered for riding a horse is an example enough of the social conditions people from the marginalised communities face. Many cases in the rural areas where untouchability is still in practice be it a sacred place or a basic necessity like getting water from the common well of the village are still reported. Some might say that these are only prevalent in rural and backward areas, but even the urban educated, elite people are not behind in such practices. Remember the infamous case of a high court judge who purified his chamber by gangajal because a dalit judge sat on that chamber before him?


It’s been 68 years since the constitution came into existence, don’t you feel that this scenario needs to change?

The fact remains intact – there has been inequality in India and it will always be due to a small chunk of the society who has enjoyed caste supremacy in the past. And the underprivileged are still vulnerable. So why not protect the basic rights of the underprivileged?

You must be to comment.
  1. Aaditya Pratap Singh

    One of the reasons due to which I oppose reservation is mainly the fact that those who actually deserve the benefits of reservation (the poorer SC/ST people) don’t themselves get the privilege while those mentioned seats are hoarded by the rich SC/ST people.

  2. Harcharan Dass

    If reservation is caste based according to you then abolish caste system? You don’t think that these people are suffering since from thousands years? And even today too do you know and realise it with holy conscious? The social equality should be there than you can say for economic equality? Is there social equality for these castes even now? Suppose I propose caste less society what is your opinion? Will you agree with social equality? Till then social equality is not there the reservation is must to equalise this ac/St category. You rea wrong at social point of reservation

  3. Harcharan Dass

    Where is my comnent

  4. Gokul Devadiga

    Well if reservation exist for nearly 100 years and the condition of the reserved category has not changed that means we are still missing something . . probably better education system. no point of giving a reservation unless you do not have a mechanism to make them capable and deserving.

    If the population of SC/ST is only 16 % than why still huge number of these population work in sanitary department and not A grade Jobs, because it is the same family member who is already in higher level job get the reserved though he/she is not deserving nor need it. so instead of this political gimmick of giving more reservation improve our education system.

    i m not against reservation and against the kind of policy we have, the policy of reservation based on caste and religion.

    And about the atrocity against them, how will change with reservation system. the you mentioned Judge did not do shuddhi for an sanitation worker sitting on his desk but for a SC/ST judge sitting. so number of SC/ST sitting in higher position wont change the society it changes with the value system that we engrave on to our future generation and again it is something that our Education system should do.

  5. SatishC66159287

    What is the fault of poor people from upper cast, generally their family members goes in the army. If see the data deeply the benefit of reservation has become Bap-Dada reservation. Now there have become a class who eats the reservation of poor in reserved class and that is why it has become endless system. The Govt should issue a white paper on what % of reserved categories benefited in last 70 years. At last i want to suggest all the upper caste to convert into Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism or as they want and take the oath not to carry caste in any way and if govt or any system carry there caste name they will boycott them

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