Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hypocrisy #08 - Who needs a reservation? Part 2

Other articles on the same controversy, just click or scroll down

Hypocrisy #08 - Who needs a reservation? The main post(updated)

50% reservation is 100% Politics

The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times & in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false
- Paul Johnson
As the proposed reservation controversy is dead-locked with neither the students nor the government willing to give up. I looked up the roots of the reservation system...

Affirmative action (U.S.), or positive discrimination (British), is a program that is meant to be a corrective measure for past governmental and social injustices against demographic groups (like race, gender, or ethnicity) by increasing the representation of these groups in fields of study and work in which they have traditionally been under represented.

Affirmative action in the U.S.A. (since 1960s) is primarily associated with race and gender. In South Africa it has a narrower focus, aiming at reversing primarily race-based and, to a lesser extent, gender-based discrimination.

There is much debate concerning claims that affirmative action fails to achieve its desired goal. Opponents regard it as government sanctioned racial discrimination, and also believe that it is demeaning to members of minority groups, that it wrongly sends a condescending message to minorities that they are not capable enough to be considered on their own merits.

In India, the focus has mostly been on undoing caste discrimination. Between 1909 and 1935, the British sowed the seeds of the current controversy by first granting Muslims share in the administration and other facilities. Then, legislative seats were reserved for members of the Muslim, Sikh, Maratha, Parsi, Christian, European, and Anglo-Indian communities. In addition seats were reserved for depressed classes within the Hindu community.

In independent India, provision for reservation in legislature was not made in the constitution until 1960. The Mandal commission recommended reservations which kick-started a controversy in the 90s. But these statistics were based on the 1931 census. How can this data be considered valid almost 75 years later? Now the 104th amendment to the constitution has kick-started this current controversy.

In 2005, In the medical admissions for the state of Tamil Nadu, where we have a 69 percent reservation (50 for OBC (BC+MBC), 18 for SC, 1 for ST) Students belonging to the Backward Classes (OBC) took 952 of the total 1,224 seats in 12 government medical colleges in the State (77.9 per cent). SC students cornered 18.9% and the ST students got 1% of the total seats. The cut-off mark for a ST candidate was 20 marks lower than the so called 'Forward castes' who could get only 28 (2.3%)seats. Paradox? How can this be social justice?

According to the National Sample Survey organisation
OBC Population of India: 32%
University seats already occupied by OBCs: 23.5%
Is a Reservation justified for a mere 8% difference?

According to the Hindustan Times
Only 3% of the scheduled caste students who enroll for class 1 complete their schooling.
Quota for SC/STs: 22.5%
Seats occupied in higher educational institutions: Only 16%
One third of the reserved seats are being wasted every year and are being denied to the general category. If 50 years after the quotas were implemented, so many seats are being wasted is it not the failure of the Primary and Secondary education system?

Providing reservations at the University level instead of improving primary and secondary education is like providing crutches to Polio afflicted children instead of providing universal immunization!

Updated New Links:
The 104th Constitutional amendment act that was passed as the 93rd Constitutional amendment Bill on 22.12.2005
Synopsis of Lok Sabha discussion for the 104th amendment act to the constitution
The Resolution was brought in by Arjun Singh, Only two MPs abstained, all voted for the resolution.
Full text of Arjun Singh's interview by Karan Thappar on CNN-IBN: Devil's Advocate
Our HRD minister has no opinion, he comes out as being pretty dumb. I wonder if any Human Resource Development takes place in the country...
National Commission for Backward Classes definition of 'Creamy layer'
Not extensive or perfect... But it's good enough. Why can't the government prevent the 'Creamy Layer' from benefiting from reservations?
OBC is actually Other Backward Classes not castes
Read on, about how we're being misled and about the pitfalls in the Mandal Commission's Methodology.
Affirmative action and caste dilemmas
The Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action in USA and how it is completely different from the Indian Quota System

Related Links:
National Sample Survey organisation: Reports
2005 Medical admissions in Tamil Nadu
2001 Census of India

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