There has been an increasing demand from various middle castes for reservation. Reservation is an important topic which is in news for the fact that reservation policy should be reviewed. Seeing the current trend, topics which are in news from quite a long time are also important. A probable question could be expected on the topic.
The people from various middle castes like Patels in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana, Marathis in Maharashtra and Kapus in Andhra Pradesh are demanding for reservation. This is an emerging trend where we are witnessing many dominant and Landholding castes asking for backward reservation.
Reasons for this phenomenon
- Farmer’s distress-There is tremendous amount of Farmer distress in Countryside in last few years due to agrarian crisis. Since most of these communities are landed agrarian caste, they are facing the brunt of agriculture slowdown. This might have contributed to the recent demand of Marathas and Patidars (also known as Patels) to be included in the other backward classes (OBC) category so that they could shift away from agriculture.
- Crippled urban economy-Due to less number of jobs created in the economy, dominant castes who are turning away from agriculture have very less opportunities to get job in private sector and thus only option left for them is government jobs, however there general status is making the competition tough for them. Therefore they are asking for reservation.
- Resentment against other OBC communities-Due to social, economic and political disparity between these groups and the groups who are already OBCs, these castes want them to be given OBC status.
- Successful quota system: Due to reservation the representation of OBCs in government jobs has increased significantly in last few years which has made these castes envy of these other OBC community and therefore motivated them to demand for reservation.
- Political support-Most of this dominant caste are electorally and politically very powerful in that state, and they get support from opposition parties for vote bank politics.
Will giving reservations to these castes solve the problem?
- Mere inclusion in OBC list will not address structural deficiencies in the caste system and the societal hold it enjoys. This will lead to demand for reservation by more castes.
- Even in OBC list these castes will have to face stiff competition and not to mention opposition from other OBC castes, resistance among higher castes. Without education, mere inclusion will just give short term benefits.
- There also arises the problem of correct evaluation and inclusion of deserving castes as to see who are the real people who deserve to be benefited from the reservation policy of the government.
- The whole idea of reservation was to provide for substantive equality, i.e., to make the condition of those who were historically disadvantaged better so that they can lead a good life. But, with time, the rich and privileged took more benefits than those who needed.
- At a time, when there is a demand for reservation from dominant caste, India needs to ensure that it creates a better version of reservation which includes the poor and backward and excludes rich and dominating sections.
- Before, extending reservation to more groups, the entire reservation policy needs to be revisited. These efforts should be coupled with a vigorous national effort to provide opportunities to the disadvantaged.
It is high time that we need to rethink our reservation policies. The radical rethinking on reservation should aim at:
- Excluding the entire creamy layer from reservation.
- Developing the capabilities of the deprived and excluded beyond offering them admission to higher education or jobs on a platter.
- India must address the challenge of reservations honestly, fairly and innovatively by creating opportunities for all disadvantaged children. It must look for some other comprehensive criteria for reservation in short term and take a call to end reservation policy in a decade or two very well in advance.
Q) While on one hand, some castes want reservations to be abolished, some of the dominant castes are asking for reservations today. Do you think inclusion of their castes in OBC list will help address their problems? Critically examine.
Q) What are the reasons for increasingly demand by the dominant castes for demand for reservation? Do you think India should reexamine its reservation policy which has become too old. Give arguments in support of your answer.