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Impact of 10% Economic Reservation, Should the Constitution be Amended?

Impact of 10% Economic Reservation, Should the Constitution be Amended?

By Ayushi Gupta

Elections are on its way and so is the anticipated awakening under the gimmick of winning.

Ever since the time immemorial, Reservation in India has been war of words. The rationale behind the reservation system was to provide aid to social and educational weaker sections of society in order to give them equal opportunity for employment or appointment by reserving certain number of seats in favour of Schedule Tribe(ST), Schedule caste(SC) and Other Backward Classes(OBCs). This principle was enshrined in our Constitution of India in Article 15, 16, 46. This was intended with a noble cause for eradication of casteism which now has become a tool for the political parties in their monopoly of vote banks. I am not vilifying the reservation system of India but just providing a food of thought, that how the pretext of the issue has transformed into a political agenda. Over the years, there has been changes in the reservation policies but the change has been constantly in regard to addition despite the fact that, article 15 and article 16 are an exception to the Right to Equality. The recent development of 10% economic reservation in general category is absurd. Firstly, this will amount to constitutional amendment as  the reservation cap of 50 % will increase to 60 %  and is against the principle of Equality of opportunity for the meritorious population. Secondly, Constitution recognizes “socially and educationally” backward class, there is no concept of “economic reservation” prevalent until now. In the case of  Balaji  v/s State of Mysore[1], it was ascertained that, in determination of backwardness, caste cannot be a sole criteria, various factors like place of habituation, occupation should also act as a determining factor in the process. It is asserted that, the concept of economically backward is inherent in the concept of determination of backwardness. While considering a certain category of people to be backward, we can deduce that they have backward caste and so are deprived of resources and come under the purview of reservation. Herein, backwardness in confined to “caste” and the new amendment bring the concept of economic reservation which is seen has a preface of the amendment whereas the cynosure must be on the “categorization of general category.” The population with, income below 8 lakhs, Agricultural land below 5 hectare, residential below 1000 square feet, in notified municipality residential plot below 109 yards and in non notified residential plot below 209 yards can avail the benefit of 10% reservation in general category.[2] The motive behind reservation seems distorted. The reasoning given behind this move is, increase in employment opportunity in educational institution and jobs amongst the general category as even they need assistance because they are “economically backward.” By this act of constitutional amendment, the vote bank of the upper caste population will also shift towards the BJP.[3] Reservation which is a form of an affirmative action which means positive discrimination. Ironically, the population below 8 lakhs or considering the other terms given for reservation don’t seem for someone who is deprived. They still are capable of giving the income tax. Isn’t the idea of reservation for those who cannot afford to live a healthy life and so needs help in order to become capable of  working and who are discriminated due to their caste. The age old reservation system based on caste discrimination shifts to economic backwardness in two different segments of caste in mere 68 hours which results in constitutional amendment. Does it sounds strange? Not to me, as elections are 4 months away. Agruendo, considering the economical backwardness in general category and the need for opportunity, what about the population of  ST, SC, OBC who no more economically deprived and are given equal opportunity? Will they still remain and get the benefit under the purview of ST, SC, OBC due to their caste? Is that the equality that we tend to seek with the reservation policy? There must be surveys in order to analyze and accumulate the population who are actually in need and are discriminated instead of getting the benefit just for the sake of their caste. The population  who do not get the benefit of reservation and are selected through their merits are duped. The idea of economically backwardness must not only apply to general category but the backward classes as well. Increase in number of employment in the job and educational sector is not the fundamental concern, the main concern equality of opportunity as it is something that can be tampered with. Now, due to the constitutional amendment,  more and more general category people will try to fit under the criteria for the sake of attaining the benefit and due to which the seats will be manipulated and the deserving ones have to bear the cost. The act of the parliament will not result in increase in the opportunity but only increase in their vote bank.[4] Reservation do not bring in more employment, but it only rearranges the seats. Mandal Commission[5] which was set up in 1979, in order to study and analyze the condition of socially and educationally backward  class people gave recommendation for reservation of the SC, ST , OBC in public and private undertaking, setting a criteria for defining backwardness, steps for advancement of these population. The recommendations were implemented a year later. Until now, after mandal commission there has been no surveys to cumulate the backward class population who have become capable enough to work without wrapping under the umbrella of socially and educationally backward.[6] Is the government working towards their betterment or are we suppose to pay the price for something that we haven’t done? Government must be aware that, this is not the time for experiments but it’s the time for action.

 


[1] Balaji v/s State of Mysore, AIR 1963 SC 649

 

[2] The Financial Express, “Reservation in India: Will you benefit from Modi government’s upper caste reservation move?”

FE Online 8th January 2019.

 

[3] The Financial Express, “Modi’s upper-caste reservations card can help get 55 million households voting for him”, Sunil Jain 8th January 2019.

[4] The Firstpost “Narendra Modi govt banks on 10% reservation with eye on 2019, but does it risk alienating Dalit votebank?”, FP Politics 8th January 2019.

 

[5]Your Article Library “Mandal Commission : Reservation for Backward Class”, Puja Mondal.

[6]Youth Ki Awaz, “Reservation, Representation And Rearrangement In The Indian State”, Ankit Mishra 23rd January 2019.

 


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