Diversity or Discrimination?

Since a while we are hearing and tracking this uproar about reservations in India. I realized the seriousness when I took to my doctors clinic , a small practice place in a very secluded corner of Mumbai and met a humble note saying " The clinic will be closed today in protest against the proposed reservations"

India has had reservations since a long time now. It hasn't helped as much as it should have. My personal opinion is that, it has just made higher education for a certain proportion of the population extremely easy, there by ignoring their merit and denying meritorious students an equal opportunity. Women's reservation, Reservation for SC/ST and OBC's are in place and with in acceptable limits. The present bill is to increase the reservation for OBC's to around 50%. There are also hints to bring in reservations for these castes in the private sector. Civil services already have a certain number of jobs reserved.

Reservations have been considered necessary all these years , however they have not proved themselves sufficient. There are ethnic tribes that need uplifting and representation in educational institutes and professions. Reservations at various levels for help them and their future generations to mature and keep pace with the growing economy. However, these reservations also inculcate a laziness in the students belonging to reserved castes and demotivate them to be more meritorious. This harms the spirit of the deserving students and punish them for belonging to a certain higher caste. Additionally, the proportion of seats that is reserved is itself subject to doubt. Various reports released by Government commissions point out that the actual number of seats reserved is not proportional to the population belonging to the caste or category.

Having said that, I do not oppose reservations entirely. Reservations if arranged based on reliable statistical data from census and if numbers are revised every 5 or 10 years will help towards creating diversity. An alternative is to create appropriate full scholarships for the economically challenged population irrespective of their caste, c, creed and religion provisions will encourage the youth who is capable yet suffers from insufficient funds. While the government set a minimum number, it should allow institutes and deemed universities to create additional reservations and scholarships which will allow them to create their necessary diversity and culture.

Reservations in the private sector, if enforced by means of law could deteriorate the quality of services and efficiency of enterprises would be a severe blow to the FDI India is attracting on it merit of being an efficient and competitive. Investors and Corporates are proponents of capability and talent, it will hurt their performance hard, if they are obliged to hire less talented people just to fulfill legal requirements.

All these days I assumed that the government would budge under pressure from the handful of students from Delhi, AIIMS and Delhi university when students from all walks and professional even in little corners have taken to the streets, the government seems to be least heeding.

It amazes me that even in lieu of such services breakdown of services, the government is unwilling to offer adequate explanation for the bill. The only words we hear are those from our honourable HRD minister , "It is the decision of the parliament.". The Lok Sabha has close to 500 members and hardly is anyone willing to come out and explain the bill, its rationale and consequences as they see it. A mature address from the Union government would go a long way in pacifying the agitated students and professionals and help them see the government's outlook if at all it is fair Police too have failed at handling the protest. Beating up students and abusing them is unfair. The youth and the professionals are educated citizens and they deserve to be treated with respect atleast when they are standing up for a fair and progressive thought. The press and media are have also been pressurized to publish and broadcast only certain happenings. Any independent report or feasibility study is being suppressed or discouraged.

By proposing to create caste based reservations, failing to justify them, failing to instruct the peace keepers to act appropriately and handle public opinion and denying press and media the freedom to distribute fair information, the government is drawing a poor picture is the largest democracy, however it is not the best, the fairest and most respectable democracy.

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