The layers of reservation
And under the heap lay crushed those who compete under open merit
AZMAT ALAM KHAN
Reservation refers to a positive discrimination by virtue of which a concession is extended to certain sections of society to compensate the socio-economic discrimination they faced in past. Over the years this welfare measure, envisaged as a temporary provision initially, has grown into a menace. Not only has been reservation extended in terms of time but also in proportion. Though in spirit nothing appears wrong in the concept of reservation but the manner in which it is implemented gives rise to many issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Long list of reserved categories: A long list of reserved categories exists and newer categories are being added. The list presently includes scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes(ST), other backward classes(OBC), reserved backward areas (RBA), Children of defence personnel (CDP), children of para-military forces and police personnel, sports personnel (SP) and physically handicapped (PH). Additionally several institutions have reservation for the wards of staff members, quota for management, trustees etc. Each category enjoys a reservation. Self-financed seats, non-resident Indians (NRI) and non-resident Indian sponsored (NRIS) and payment categories are recent additions to already existing long list. Sum total of reserved seats is more than the open seats. Many more groups are desirous of being included.
Multi-stage reservation: As of now a person belonging to a reserved category is entitled to concession at many stages. If he happens to be a student he gets a scholarship during elementary schooling. He requires less marks in qualifying examination to appear in an entrance test. He has to pay less examination fee and qualifies entrance test in spite of scoring less grades than the general category candidates. In professional college, though students from all categories study together from the same teachers, enjoying similar facilities, once they complete the course the reservation in jobs again comes in the way of general category student. Thereafter the reservation in promotions causes reserved category candidate to supersede.
Maintaining a backlog of reservation: Earlier during a recruitment process if no candidate was available under the reserved category, the reserved posts were filled by the general category candidates but now the posts are kept vacant as backlog vacancies and it so happens that combining the backlog and current vacancies more number of vacancies are available for reserved candidates than the general ones.
Reservation benefit to multiple generations: The benefit of reservation is availed generation after generation. Once a generation avails the benefit it is in a position to make available to their next generation all the facilities that are otherwise available to general category, but when it comes to compete for admissions or jobs they always avail the benefit of reservation. By virtue of this it so happens that son of a deputy commissioner gets precedence over a son of an orderly sitting at his door in spite of the fact that commissioner’s son is less meritorious than orderly’s son; that former belongs to a reserved category and latter belongs to general category.
Reserved category candidates selected under general quota: One of the arguments put forth in favour of reservation is that each section of the society should get due representation in admissions and jobs commensuration with their population. But under the present system of reservation if a candidate from a reserved category happens to score better to the extent that his merit is equivalent to the candidates in open merit he is selected under general category in spite of the fact that he has applied under the reserved category. The seat vacated under the reserved category by such elevation is filled by another candidate from reserved category. Thus a reserved category gets more representation at the cost of general category.
Rural-urban divide: When one talks of reservation one gets unknowingly drawn into rural-urban divide. All the anomalies in reservation policy discussed above affect rural and urban population equally. One should never think that whole of the rural population enjoys reservation and whole of urban population falls in unreserved category or vice versa. In fact there are certain groups of urban dwellers who enjoy reservation in spite of the fact that they have all the facilities available to them. Similarly in rural areas certain well to do sections enjoy the benefit of reservation while a more disadvantaged ones are listed under general category.
Such a state of affairs not only affects the morale but creates a discontented class in the society that would have serious consequences in the long run if left unattended.
Above article represents the views of the author and not that of the institution he works for.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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