Is reservation system paralyzing India? should it be abolished?

Ans: The answer to this question depends on the perspective of the people on whether they are benefiting from this quota system or losing from it.  There are two types of arguments regarding the present reservation system in India

Upper caste people think that quota system is causing havoc because they are losing opportunities in getting education in reputed colleges and getting government jobs due to the reservation system while lower caste people who get the benefit from the system feel that reservation is not only justified but an historic necessity to remove the inequalities among different castes in the country.

The caste system is deep rooted in the country. Most couples belong to the same caste. Therefore almost all their relatives belong to the same caste. They are prejudiced on caste basis since their birth. Hence, whenever an opportunity arises, they promote the members of their own caste as compared to others.

 The lower caste people hardly had any representation in power structure of the country before this reservation system. However,they are now well represented in bureaucracy and politics. This has happened only due to reservation system in educational institutions, jobs and in elections.  It is difficult to say whether it is paralyzing the country or not. If a policy benefits nearly 70 per cent of the population (SC, ST OBCs), it is difficult to term it bad in a democracy.

 It is role reversal now. In the earlier times, the upper castes (Brahmins, Baniyas,Jats,Rajputs,Reddys and Kammas) who were in power reserved almost all privileges for them. The same is done today by the lower castes. But for the intervention of the Supreme Court by placing a cap of 50 per cent in reservation, it would have crossed more than 75 per cent by now.

One should accept the reality of the country’s reservation system and cope with it rather than trying to prove its benefits or losses. Any amount of argument or counter-argument is not going to change the existing system which is unduly influenced by the vote bank politics.

The reservation system is an emotional issue and both proponents and opponents find reasons to justify their feelings.

The Modi Government recently announced 10 per cent quota for the upper caste poor. This leaves only 40 per cent of seats/jobs will be left for the general category and that will lead to further stress for students.  The situation for those in general category is appalling. They may score high marks in competitive examinations and still not get admission or jobs due to ever expanding number of reserved people.

A senior professor at JNTU said, “Caste-based reservation was supposed to be only for the short term but it has been politicized by successive governments and has become a burden. The impact is already being felt in educational institutions as the output or skill is not as required. The workforce does not have the right skills, talent and ability to take the pressure or to work hard because the spirit of competition has been killed. This will further dwindle and that will be a major setback not only for the industry but also institutions.”