General Knowledge On Caste and Reservations-A Critical Analysis
General Knowledge on Caste Reservations in India
General Knowledge On Caste and Reservations-A Critical Analysis—-India and globally castes have been called by different names and depicted the power differences in the society. Recent Patel agitation brings up the question: Who is getting reservation? Is reservation necessary? Why reservation was introduced in the first place? Who are Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes? And finally who are Jats, Patidars and Gujjars demanding reservations?
Pi-Chart Of Caste and Reservations In Tamil Nadu
Clearly in history, Constitutional fathers knew the conditions of the poorest i.e. Dalits in India. Dalits included the untouchables and the adivasis which were socially boycotted by the higher and wealthy castes in all forms of social interactions and exchange. They were the most annihilated and exploited and oppressed throughout the ancient and medieval times. Post independence, Dalit leaders like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar demanded equity and compensation and efforts for emancipation of dalits which led to introduction of Article 334 for reservation and Article 17 for abolition of untouchability.
Reservations were supported by all the parties of the time looking at the dire conditions of dalits but it was approved for ten years but later extended time to time due to inherent social mindset and cultural rigidity against dalits. Further post Mandal Commission and Sachar Committee reports, new category of Backward Classes was introduced and SC/ST reservation was strengthened. But due to low percentage in the government jobs and education enrolment alongwith the presence of poorest people living in rural areas according to the latest census data, question of reservation and creamy layer has arisen. Also upper castes now demand reservations according to economic conditions to take care of the poor in the upper castes.
Criteria of economic prosperity is a bit complex to implement on ground because of cultural and personal choices at play along with the different socio-geographic-demographic factors in different regions of the country. For example a poor in Delhi may have an income sufficient to live in Himachal Pradesh and a rich in Mizoram may be poor in Mumbai. Even if such a comparison seems impractical but fluctuation of income cannot be denied. For example a person living just above the poverty line may come below it by slight issues of slowdown of the economy or rise in inflation. Such complexity creates huge burden on the exchequer and the administration along with rise in the claims and dissent.
Further, such a straight economic criteria is impractical as it may change according to society in which a person lives in. For example a person in modest area of Kanniyakumari may have car and considered rich but a tribal person having simple living in Jharkhand may be considered poor looking at his choices of living in a hut. To resolve such issues, poverty was seen from the spectacles of Nutrition and later multidimensional poverty index released in the last year’s Economic Survey. Such an index takes care of assets and minimum basket of needs including health and education expenses.
But can such a methodology bring real change in a person’s social exclusion? According to surveys, this has been a mixed result. Many SC/ST officials still face discrimination within the government. Caste based violence is still prevalent. For example Mirchpur incident in Hissar in Haryana or Baahubali violence in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Caste based politics is at its peak with specific caste parties in power. Even caste is seen as a mode of promotion in government services in many states. Such instances realize the importance of caste in Indian society and politics.
Also reservation benefits rarely reach the really deprived sections e.g. women, untouchables, dalits, etc because of barriers of corruption and resourcefulness needed to work around in better conditions. For example, Indira Awas Yojana for housing to rural poor needs education about one’s previlages and many documentary proofs like voter ID card or Adhar Card or other documents from Panchayat officials where corruption is rampant. Further bank officials are insensitive to the needs of the truly poor looking at their own daily chores of the branch and not putting extra efforts for government schemes.
Even if all this is corrected, level of education is in rural areas is so poor that a fifth grade student cannot solve second grade math problem according to latest Pratham report. Also global issues of recession and domestic inflation, international security threats and pollution measures keep the government finances so much distributed that real issues rarely get government funding. On top of that, Lok Sabha rarely functions smoothly and Criminal Justice System is still slow. Administrative reforms and Police reforms for better efficiency are pending despite Administrative Reforms Commission reports and Supreme Court Judgements.
Despite many positives like people now demanding land rights under government schemes and Forest Rights Act 2006 and change in economic conditions of dalits in states like Tamil Nadu, much more needs to be done. Further need is to strictly implement the law and bring rules on ground along with the value based ethical practical education which teaches to question the backward mindset of society and brings back the faith of people in democracy. Only reservations or any such criteria will never bring change unless the whole ecosystem changes.
Post written By- Atul Sharma
Tag used-General Knowledge On Caste and Reservations,Caste and Reservations,Reservations in india
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