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End reservation; make merit the norm 

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Dr Vedapratap Vaidik

In the Apex court of the country a serious debate is in progress on reservation. The contention is whether the reservation in jobs and education need to be awarded on the basis of economic status.  In 2019, Parliament passed the 103rd Amendment of the Constitution and made it a statute that people below the poverty line should be given 10 percent reservation. This reservation is available to those who are not included in the reservation for scheduled and backward classes. This means this reservation was exclusively for those from the general category or those not entitled for any other reservations. Those who have family income less than Rs. 8 lakh per year, i.e. about Rs 65 thousand per month are eligible for such reservations. If there are four earning members in that family their individual income will be about Rs 16 thousand and they will fall below poverty-line, as per the norms. As per this norm about 25 percent of the current population in the country or 30 crore people is below poverty-line.

Those opposed to this reservation policy argue that most of the country’s poor belong to scheduled caste, scheduled tribe or backward classes.  If those belonging to the upper class are brought to the ambit of reservation on the basis of their economic status then the really poor will be deprived of their rights. In response to this, the Bench apprehends if those currently availing reservation is included in the new reservation policy, there is a chance for the entire reservation quota being cornered by the same lot who are already enjoying the benefits of reservation. As of now the law restricts the reservation to not more than 50 percent.   There is a counter argument that any such policy could jeopardize the existing reservation benefits of the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.  

In my opinion there should not be any reservation in the government or non-government sectors. The erroneous reservation policy allows incompetent people to assume critically important positions at the cost of competent candidates. Here merit is kept aside to facilitate reservation.   The faulty reservation system has led to the degeneration of our administrative machinery, thanks to the poor quality workforce.  

If the administrative machinery of the country is to be made efficient, the reservation policy has to be modified and reservation in the name of caste and poverty should be abolished with immediate effect. Reservation should be given only in education.  There is nothing wrong even if 60-70 percent reservation is permitted in education.  Economic status has to be the only criterion for reservation and irrespective of caste and community all   should be ensured equal opportunity and facilities.  All students eligible for reservation should be provided free education and if possible, free food and accommodation. Why would children who are hardworking and capable, beg for reservation in jobs?  Let them not be victims of any inferiority complex. Allow them to live with pride and confidence.

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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