Only Solution To
By Satinath Choudhary
01 June, 2007
have been many castes or segments of our society that wants to be included
within the categories of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST).
Today it is the demand of Gujjar's demand in Rajasthan to be included
within the ST category. There is an ongoing effort to on the part of
Dalit Christians to be included within the SC or ST community to which
they originally belonged. There have been other OBC castes that have
demanded to be included within SC or ST category. Most of those within
the SC or ST communities understandably oppose inclusion of new castes
within the SC/ST ambit. Why are they opposed? Simply because most of
the groups that want to be included into SC/ST categories are educationally/economically
somewhat ahead of the SC/ST groups. For this reason those already within
the SC/ST groups feel apprehensive that most of the reservation benefits
will be grabbed by the new entrants within the SC/ST groups. This makes
it difficult for the government to accede to the demand for the inclusion
of new groups/castes into the SC/ST category.
One way to solve this imbroglio
is to grant sub-quotas within the quotas for the broad categories of
SC, ST and OBCs. Currently most of the OBC benefits are grabbed by the
castes within OBC that are better off educationally and economically.
If various members of less developed OBC communities could get their
share of OBC reservation benefits, they would feel reduced compulsion
towards migrating into the SC or ST groups. However, the population
of OBC, according to the Mandal Commission happens to be about 50% while
they are currently being given only 27% reservation. This means that
each of the OBC castes is currently entitled to reservation percentage
that is nearly half the percentage of their population. On the other
hand, with the regimen of sub-quotas within quotas would entitle each
of the SC/ST castes or subgroups to a percentage of reservation that
equals their population percentage. Due to this advantage of SC/ST subgroups
over OBC subgroups, some of the OBC castes may still want to be included
within the SC/ST categories.
If the new castes or group
to be included are accorded reservation percentage equal to the percentage
of their population, those within the SC/ST communities would not be
opposed to the inclusion of new castes within the SC/ST categories.
In fact, they would welcome the new inclusions because the size of SC/ST
segment would increase, thus increasing their clout. Further, it will
also solve the problem of the less developed castes within the SC/ST
categories that do not get their due share of reservation benefits --
they will all get their due share.
What can be the problems
in allowing sub-quotas within quotas? If most of the OBCs are included
within the SC/ST categories, net reservation percentage would exceed
50% bar on total reservation. Thus what we really need is 100% reservation
to each caste, in accord with the percentage of respective population.
The 50% bar on quotas imposed by the higher courts is totally unconstitutional
and goes and the basic intent of the constitution. In the constitution,
wherever there is mention of equality, there is a sub-clause indicating
that nothing in that article should prevent the parliament from making
laws giving special privilege to the deprived castes.
Many people talk about impossibility
of caste-wise quota, mentioning about its impossibility of because there
are zillions of castes. However, one could declare castes bigger than,
say, one percent, to be a sub-group all by itself. All castes with population
of less than one percent may be lumped together with other small-sized
castes with similar educational background until their combined population
becomes larger than one percent. Thereafter each caste-group could be
granted reservation in proportion to their respective population. In
relatively small groups of about 1% of total population, of nearly equally
developed castes, the difference between the top and bottom castes would
not be as much as that in the case of broad categories of SC, ST and
OBCs. Thus in the case of former (small caste-groupings), the top caste
will not be able to overwhelm the bottom caste and win most positions
at the cost of the bottom layer.
100% reservation policy for
all segments of our society, with segmentations based on region, mother
tongue, gender, caste, etc., will make our society a fully power sharing
society like Switzerland. In Switzerland, they have German, French,
Italian and Romansch speaking communities with population of 75%, 20%,
4% and 1% respectively. Each of these linguistic groups are granted
reservations in the same proportion in the Federal Government at all
levels including judiciary. "Consociationalism" is the term
they use for this kind of power sharing arrangement. Most West European
countries (other than England and France) believe in consociationalism.
100% reservation for all
segments of the society (as far as practicable) is the best way for
amicable and peaceful coexistence. Otherwise a segment that has bigger
control over power will succeed in appointing larger and larger percentage
of its members to positions of power leading to what we currently see
in the judiciary, armed forces and the media -- nearly 100% upper caste
control, principally that of Brahmins. This can only lead to a situation
wherein a couple of castes become ruling castes, with the rest reduced
to the status of serfs.
In conclusion, the principle
of 100% reservation (power to each segment in proportion to its population)
will lead to a relatively amicable and peaceful society where the dominant
sections would no longer be trying to continuously increase their power
and in the process oppress the less developed segments. Power of each
segment, including that of the most developed ones will be limited by
their respective quota and none can keep on increasing their power at
the cost of the less developed ones. The less developed segments would
then be able to enjoy truly free India of compassion, cooperation and
rapid progress in conflict-free environment!
Dr. Satinath Choudhary
used to teach Computer Science at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania,
the USA. Now a days I spend most of my time as an activist in Delhi.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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