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False polarity: On the reservation system

Instead of handing out reservations for admission to higher education or jobs on a silver platter, radical solutions include excluding the entire creamy layer among all castes from the reservation and developing their capabilities.

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The reservation policy, in India, is the consequence of age-old caste discrimination. In essence, it involves making it easier for certain groups of people to get seats in government offices, educational institutions, and even legislatures. Because of their caste identity, these communities have historically experienced injustice. Reservation can also be viewed as positive discrimination since it is based on quotas. Government policies in India are supported by the Indian Constitution.

The reservation system that is still in use today was established by the “Communal Award” given in 1933 by British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald. Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans, and Dalits all had their own electorates established as a result of this award. Following independence, reservations were initially only available to SCs and STs. OBCs were included in the reservation system in 1991 on the advice of the Mandal Commission. In the Indra Sawhney Case of 1992, the Supreme Court overturned a government notification that reserved 10% of government positions for economically backward classes among the higher castes while upholding the 27 per cent quota for backward classes. The Supreme Court upheld the idea that the proportion of reservation beneficiaries should not exceed 50% of India’s population in the same ruling.

After the reservation clause was first introduced, it was associated with vote-bank politics and frequently extended by prospering governments and the Indian Parliament without any free and fair amendments. By attempting to reduce labour productivity, the current reservation system has the potential to thwart the nation’s economic system. We’ll gradually have less competent teachers, magistrates, and medical professionals caring for our family. The reservation system only serves to further divide society, leading to prejudice and conflicts between different groups. There is no caste embroiled; it is oppressive. It is the total antithesis of living in a community.

The reservation system is an apocalyptic menace to the world. Instead of propping up meritocracy by lowering entry barriers, financial aid should be given to the most deserving but least fortunate people. The NTs and IIMs are now held in high esteem all over the world due to their preservation of merit. Caste-based discrimination is a strategy used to advance specific political interests.

There are no social or economic advantages for poor members of the advanced castes over those of the backward castes. The majority of the seats designated for backward castes are only occupied by affluent people, making the goal a complete failure. For the EWS category, pursuing education at the secondary level is a distant dream, forget studying at prestigious universities.

What about the human capital flowing out? As undergrads and graduates started to pursue higher education in foreign colleges as a result of the reservation, there was an increase in brain drain. Every year, approximately 7,50,000 Indian students study abroad, which adversely affects the country’s balance of payments (BOP).

A toll on unreserved category students appearing for various entrance exams. Caste-based reservation is unfair to general category deserving students because it prevents them from enrolling in the colleges of their choice. For instance, according to the NEET 2019 counselling results for Uttarakhand, the last seat obtained by an unreserved category student in Uttarakhand required approximately 529 marks, while the same seat required approximately 338 marks for a student from a reserved category. The unreserved meritorious students have suffered as a result of the enormous difference in the numbers. Instead of caste-based advantages, opportunities for students must be determined by their abilities and financial situations. Skill-based courses or institutions may be brought up so that everyone is at the same level. Reservation in state services caused conflict and animosity among government workers, debauching the work environment.

The majority of underprivileged children from disadvantaged castes should receive reservation benefits, not just a select group of privileged children who can claim caste as their identity. High-ranking officials’ families, well-off professionals, and others earning more than a certain amount should be excluded from reservation benefits.

Reservations are a necessary and fair way to assist the less fortunate members of each community. The education system needs to undergo radical changes at the grassroots level. Vocationalized education, rather than rote learning, should be focused on. Instead of handing out reservations for admission to higher education or jobs on a silver platter, radical solutions include excluding the entire creamy layer among all castes from the reservation and developing their capabilities. Intrinsically as it offers appropriate positive discrimination for the disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged segments of society, reservation is fair.  But it should be completely eradicated as soon as it has a propensity to harm society and ensure privileges for some at the expense of others for purely political reasons. Finding a balance between equity for the ahead, justice for the backward, and system efficiency requires a strong political will.

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