Stance on Reservations
What is the stance of Lok Satta on reservation?
Unfortunately, this is a zero-sum game. When the combined opportunities available remain constant, then even if one community gains, the others have to lose. We need to solve this problem with equanimity by evolving mutually acceptable and practicable solutions.
It is a fact that for thousands of years, some sections of Indian society have been oppressed in the name of caste. Individuals of some castes have been deprived of dignity as human beings and access to basic education. The social stratification has been so deep that even now we can correctly estimate 80% of the time the future of a child based on the caste and economic status of its family. Caste still decides the future of most children. Accepting this fact is the first step towards finding a solution.
People crying hoarse for meritocracy should understand that to be called meritocracy, children are not competing on equal terms. Some of them have access to good schools and all the resources and supportive households while others don’t.
In this background, we have no way but continue the reservations for some more time. But limiting ourselves to just providing reservations and treating different castes as vote banks is abominable. We have to take some more steps to address the centuries-old problem.
- Quality education and health to all for free. Lok Satta wants politics to revolve around these two issues.
- Students who would benefit from reservations should also be provided with coaching for higher education like we are doing for the civil services examinations.
- Applying the creamy layer concept to stop candidates from affluent families from reaping the benefits of reservation. Allowing them would deprive genuinely deserving candidates.
- Economically backward families: There are many poor families in non-reserved castes. We may not provide them reservations constitutionally as it is social backwardness that is the basis for reservation in our constitution and not economic backwardness. But no child shall be deprived of education because of want of money. The government should provide scholarships to such children be it school or higher education.
After implementing the above steps for a few years, we can start reducing the reservations by 0.5% or 1% periodically.