Reservations are needed, but the policy needs to be re-assessed by the society

Last year saw a relentless struggle for reservation by the general category people in states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana; all of them being accidentally BJP-ruled states. The quest for reservations by the general category has been a perpetual result of the anguish developed as a result of reduced employment opportunities in the public sector.

Reservations were enshrined in the constitution to envisage an egalitarian society but it has eventually resulted into a breakdown of social order into divided societal structure. For instance, the violence in Gujarat and Haryana led to huge loss of public property and also caused tensions and rift among the communities.

This is high time that the civil society and the government act in tandem to assess and reinvigorate the reservation system. Rather than concluding with the traditional norm of “caste based reservation” to bag caste votes in their favour, political parties must introspect the grave consequences that has developed as a result of this polarisation agenda.

Reservations were envisaged in the constitution to emancipate the SC(s) and ST(s) who had been deprived of their rights earlier. The objective was to allow for equal opportunities for them and in the process, making them equal in terms of qualification and employability.

But the opportunities availed by the well-off sections among backward classes has led to the deprivation of constitutional rights for the poor backward classes. It has also led to the anguish among economically backward general class visible in the form of reservation demands for them.

The central solution to the problem lies in completely removing the creamy layers from availing the reservation facility in both SC(s) and ST(s). The well off section who have been educated in top schools and colleges need not to enjoy reservation as they are already educated enough to compete with the general category students. Government of the day should try to enhance the quality education in the public institutions at par with the private ones to abandon any inequality among the students on basis of their economic background.

If the political parties and civil societies continue to embrace and advocate their traditional, orthodox and complex attitude towards reservation, it will take no time for the “violent reservation demand” to reach the other parts of India. Reservation must be continued for the poor and depressed classes but the affluent sections of the backward classes should either voluntarily give up the benefits or it should be lawfully removed through consensus of an all-party-meeting.

Reservation benefits should be designed in a way so that it could be perpetually removed so that the caste-based identity can be removed and a united India is built.

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