I recently read a mail regardng reservations and the need of reservation.The author had deliberated on various issues. The author first questioned the various unfair non meritorious practices that were being practiced in India. One of them being the right to inheritance which is very debatable issue and i think we need to look at how other countires have dealt with the
right to inheritance but then one thing that i have to say is that inheritance comes from forefathers. It is a right to enjoy thier property. I believe that they should compulsorily decide to whom the property should be provided. When they have not made thier intentions clear it is always ambiguous as to who should inherit the property.
Anyway the next issue it talks about is employment through references. I believe that this a practice not only followed in India but all over the world. It is understandably so due to sheer economics. It may not be economically possible in certain cases to conduct open job interviews, and companies rely on references.
However all these seem to be issues which can be separately tackled and i belive that one cannot justify anything based on other incidences. The consequences of an action alone must justify why it should be taken. Its justification can never come externally.
Next the author talks about the south indian states which have done very well for themselves when they have enforced reservation. Again it seems to be empirical evidence. In fact it may have been equally true that those states may have done even better had reservations not been exercised. It is debatable because there are no hard proofs but empirical economic parameters to support the arguement.
Finally the author questions the very definition of merit. This is very important question. Are marks true reflection of merit. I guess we all know the answer to this question is a definite and emphatic no. Secondly there certain cases wherein jobs are handed out to persons who maybe unfit for the job but just merely based on appearnces. Again this is very true.
However my question is considering the present situation in India its more or less marks that are considered as quasi merit indicators and when that is the case it becomes an all important issue to be addresed.
Finally I believe the author has posed certain strong arguments in favour of a systemic change. I am with the author in this one becuase the author has decided to address the root cause of lack of equal opportunities persisting in india. What is the most important and urgent need of the hour: free and good quality education should made available to all. I think it is through reforms in primary and secondary schools that we can support and bring on an even keel a large number of downtrodden masses irrespective of their caste background. I think the Government has side stepped this issue and has focused on reservation in higher education which is hardly the need of the hour. I believe that for the really downtrodden masses to take advantage of the current sops being proposed there are certain fundamental pre-requisites. That is passing through primaryand secondary school with the intention and ability to read further. This I am afraid is lacking among the majority of the downtrodden masses. I think here is where the government needs to focus. However this would actualy involve educating the majority of the downtrodden and thereby possibly enabling them to take intelligent decisions when it comes to voting which is not what most politicians want.
Anyway the point is people have to stand up now and ask pertinent questions to the government. They should ask the government to reveal the number of dropouts at high school level among the people for whom reservation is being sought. It is these numbers that will tell a different story. Secondly how many of those who are qualified and willing to study beyond high school are really downtrodden among the castes for which reservations are sought. The people will also have to ask the government about the exact nature of the usage of funds obtained as education cess. By how much has the dropout rate been curbed in independent India in the past fifty years. What is the justification for the progress made in eliminating dropouts at the high school level? These are certain questions that the government needs to answer before they go in for the policy of reservation in higher education. If at all after answering these questions the government still finds it favourable to provide reservation, then there should be justification of the percentage of reservation(the persentage should not be arbitrarily determined but on the basis of really deserving candidates) and a concrete plan on ways and means of phasing it out in the years to come as reservations have always been only a short term solution. Also it has to submit before the people ways and means of protecting the system from abuse where in undeserving candidates try to get reservation meant for only the downtrodden and not the creamy layer among the castes. I believe all these questions need to be answered before we can even implement a reservation policy.