In January 2019, 124th constitution amendment bill was passed to grant 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of General Category in government jobs and in government & private educational institutions.
Article 15 & 16 of Indian constitution mentions about positive affirmative action for socially disadvantaged groups in education & employment respectively. In Indian constitution, there is no provision of economic basis reservation. So, to allow 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of General Category, government passed 124th constitutional amendment act, which added sub-clauses to Article 15 & 16.
In Favor :-
This quota helps those who are really in need of reservation, but couldn’t avail it because of their General category tag. Some people in General category are in poverty from many generations. So, this bill helps those people.
As India has caste based reservation system, poor among General Category people felt discriminated. Now this problem is solved to some extent with this bill.
From the past few years, people of several communities from several states are protesting to add their communities to the reservation category. Kapus of Andhra Pradesh, Jats of Haryana & Patels of Gujarat are some communities that are protesting. With this 10% Quota, these communities may feel satisfied.
Against the move :-
The concept of reservations or positive affirmative action is added because some communities have faced so much discrimination and assaults in the past & some communities are facing it even now. With these circumstances, it is difficult for people of these communities to get access to education & employment opportunities. So, to help these communities, the concept of reservations was introduced. But giving reservation on economic basis is not right because they have not faced discrimination & trauma like socially disadvantaged groups.
In 1992, Supreme court held that reservations should not be given solely on economic basis, but rather it should be given to distressed communities.
This quota is applicable to those who have annual income of less then 8 lakh rupees. 95% of Indians fall into this category. So, approximately 95% people of General category now have 10% reservation. And hence there will so much competition for this 10% quota. Those who have access to better education will score well and will avail the reservation benefits. So, again the poor among general category are at loss.
Supreme Court said in a judgement that reservations should not exceed 50%. This 10% quota disobeys this rule.
At first there was only one OBC category. But now we have subcategories in OBC in several states, because some castes of OBC are frequently using reservation depriving benefits to other castes. So, state governments sub-categorized OBC and shared quotas. This problem may arise in General Category also. And hence government will be forced to do sub-categorization of General Category as well. This may deepen the caste divisions.
This bill was made into an act in just a few days, that too just before elections. This may happened due to Vote Bank politics.
This quota will solve the core issues of unemployment & inequality. And hence this is not a sustainable solution in the long-run.
Many people do not have consistent income, especially if they are in the informal sector. For some people, economic status changes frequently because of medical issues or losses in business etc. So, reservations on economic basis may not be a right decision.
Better alternatives :-
Instead of increasing reservation quotas, improving education system, providing better access to education loans, scholarships and providing more employment opportunities will prevent the need for reservations.
There should be a debate on reservation system. At first, reservations were introduced only for 15 years. But even after 70 years, there is no overhaul of the reservation system.
Instead of adding more & more people to the reservation categories, weeding out the fake beneficiaries continuously can help in reducing the reservation percentage and will ensure that there will be reservation for only deserving people.
The best alternative is getting rid of caste system, which is very difficult but not impossible. Of course political parties will not do anything about it because of the vote bank politics. But we, the citizens can make it happen. If government creates a new caste and if it allows everyone to migrate to it, we can together get rid of this caste system & we can make India a better to live in. If you like this idea, please sign this petition – Create ‘Humanity’ caste & allow everyone to migrate to it.
10% quota for economically backward people of General category seems to be a good step to uplift the poor sections of general category, but it’s not a sustainable solution in the long-run. With this kind of reservation system, it is very difficult for the deserving people to avail reservation benefits.
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