Government’s move to provide 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections among the upper castes, just before the Lok Sabha elections, raises more questions than it answers.
First, are reservations in jobs and educational institutions relevant in today’s world, especially in view of the fact that in recent years those topping entrance examinations used the quota system but are from affluent backgrounds.
Second, the move will reduce the seats available for the general category to below 50%, causing an imbalance in the jobs and education system. Moreover, it will impact the quality of bureaucracy and technocracy.
Third, if the economic status is the basis for providing this 10% quota, shouldn’t the reservations on the basis of other parameters like caste, tribe and backwardness be done away with? Not only will that make the system more transparent and benefit the needy, but it will also be a progressive system taking India away from casteism.
To be sure the 10% quota has been a long-standing demand of the upper castes and will benefit those who avail the quota, even though they might not need quotas to gain employment or education.
In addition to answering these questions, the government has a bigger hurdle to cross. To implement the 10% reservation an amendment to the constitution has to be passed by both the houses of the Parliament.
With just two days left for the Winter Session of Parliament to get over, it might be a tough one to achieve.