//Internal reservations for SC/ST

Internal reservations for SC/ST

ABHIJEET KUMAR, 71/B, LOTUS COURTS-A, HARIBHAKTI COLONY, RACE COURSE, BARODA – 390 007

(1) It is a fact that some SC/ST/BCs have benefited from job reservations more than the rest due to various factors such as education, social awareness, economic status etc. It is, therefore, incumbent upon these beneficiary castes/tribes to be magnanimous with their less fortunate brothers and sisters and take initiative to hand down reservation benefits to them by supporting the demand for internal reservation (reservation within reservation). All the SC/STs be categorised into three or four categories (group of castes/tribes) such as upper (A), upper-middle (B), middle (C) and lower (D) depending upon the level of their backwardness of these categories and fix the percentage of reservation according to their population ratio. The following table for SC category will explain the issue:

Category Population Ratio % of reservation
A 15 2.25
B 20 3.00
C 30 4.50
D 35 5.25
Total 100 15.00

Thus, entire SC eligible for 15% quota is distributed in the proportion of the population of each category (group of castes). In the above table, A is most benefited but D is least benefited group of castes. Such a suo-moto action will not only generate tremendous goodwill but also bring the much desired unity among different categories. This will also rob off anti-reservationists the issue of discrimination within the reserved classes.

(2) The children of govt./PSU officers who retire at the Grade A or equivalent posts should not be considered for further reservation automatically. However, they should be considered only when suitable/eligible candidates are not available from the rest of the categories. This will enhance the chances of those people who have not yet benefited from the reservation. This gesture on our part will blunt the arguments of anti-reservationists that reservation policy is creating elites among SC/STs.

Debate: DV may conduct a debate to crystallise these four issues so that proposals could be presented to the government. Whenever there is a debate on SC/ST, the anti-reservationists hit back saying:

(1) Why reservations are extended after every 10 years? (2) Why there is reservation for SC/STs when lot many among upper castes are poorer? (3) Why “merit” is sacrificed at the altar of reservation politics?

The media has utterly failed to clarify these issues. On the contrary its silence has complicated the matter further and created all sorts of wrong notions in the minds of young ones.

No time limit for quota: (1) SC/ST reservations in jobs and education are governed by the Article 15 read with Article 335 and Article 46 of the Constitution for which no time limit is fixed. The said limit of 10 years is applicable only reservation of seats in parliament and state assemblies which falls within the purview of Article 330, 332 and 334 of the Constitution. Please note SC/STs are not much bothered about reserved seats. They would rather welcome if it is abolished.

(2) Reservation in jobs are provided on he basis of social and educational backwardness and not on the economic condition of the people. However, there is no doubt many upper castes are also poor. But that is beside the point. A rich Dalit is not socially equal to a poor Brahmin. Reservation brings some respectability to the beneficiary.

What is merit: (3) Anti-reservationists always use the argument of “merit” as Brahmastra. However, “merit” is such an abstract concept defined in as many ways as the number of interested parties and depending upon the context in which it is used. By and large the “merit” is perceived by the people in terms of marks obtained in a qualifying exam. No doubt it is an objective method for selecting candidates for jobs or professional courses in the absence of some better alternative.

But the most important question is never answered by the anti-reservationists. SC/STs are most oppressed, dispossessed and disinherited, who were never allowed to acquire education for centuries together. They are the victims of caste discrimination. How can they be suddenly asked to complete with the beneficiaries of the caste system?

The upper castes, who have all along derived and squeezed every bit of caste-based occupation reservation in the pre-independence era, are now in the forefront in denying the opportunities to the unprivileged to play their rightful role in nation-building activities.

(4) We have democracy in our country which is built on certain basic principles and perhaps the most important of them are equality of opportunities, social justice and representation. The strength of a chain lies in its weakest link and SC/ST are the country’s weakest link.