Reservation in India owes its occurrence to the fact that the Government perceives citizens belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (the so called backward classes) as inadequately represented in government services and institutions.
Generally caste serves as the main factor for Reservation in India, although sometimes other facts like religion also take part. The Mandal Commission put the last nail in the coffin by announcing extension of reservation benefits to the “Other Backward Classes” as well.
It is paradoxical that while we pay lip service to democracy we continue to impose the very same social conditions that led to the disparate development in the first place.
Reservations based on caste might have been logical in the early years of independence. In rural India, even today, the caste of a person tells you about his economic condition. Yet, if one looks around, one will find plenty of people from the forward caste who are unable to afford education which makes reservation based on caste erroneous.
Reservations by caste only widen the divide further. Reservations were first introduced with the idea that they would eventually be spaced out. However in a country where the backward class accounts for a large part of the vote bank, politicians have persevered with reservation to their own ends.
Reservations, if required, must be done on the basis of prevailing economic status and not based on the status of our living or dead ancestors. Also reservations given to the children of those in services need to be cancelled. If anyone needs to be honored for their service it is those who are in service themselves and this can be done by rewarding them with better perks at work.
Education is a basic need, and elementary and secondary education is a must. The government must set up special teacher groups that will correctly assess the financial situation of the student at elementary and secondary level.
All help must be given at this level so that every child receives basic education. It is true that children from the forward class have access to tuition and a host of other facilities which the children from backward class do not have; this automatically ensures that they perform better in exams.
The administration needs to make sure that the education at grass roots remains same. To this end, if it can’t afford private tuition for its backward classes, then it must make sure that the forward classes can’t avail it either.
Private tuition should be banned. How smart can it be to reserve seats at graduate and post-graduate levels? Is it intelligent to reserve a seat in medical school for a student just because he is from the backward class??? Surely a profession where human life might be at stake calls for merit? This helps neither the backward class who ends up flunking at exams nor the upper class which continues to be victimized despite getting the required grades. What reservation effectively does, it replaces qualified candidates with unqualified candidates.
The unqualified candidate is then unable to cope with the others who have got in on the basis of merit and this leads to a situation where those qualified look down on those who got in on the basis of reservation as basically inferior. This is most unfortunate and defeats the entire purpose of reservation which was meant to bridge the burgeoning divide.
India may well be able to do without reservation at graduation and post graduation level if the economically weaker are given more help monetarily and academically at the primary level.