The Game Of Divide And Rule

2748 words - 11 pages

Game of divide and rule

• We do need social reservations at the entry level so that they get equal opportunity to prove themselves. But our politicians are not letting these socially backward classes to get rid of the "backward" tag for the sake of vote bank politics.

• At present, only 0.7 per cent of the GDP is spent on higher education and 3.79 per cent on education overall.

• Why has the provision of seat reservation for SC/ST and Anglo-Indians not ceased even though the Article 334 says that it should lapse in 50 years after the commencement of the Constitution?

According to original Constitutional provision, all such reservations were to last for ...view middle of the document...

If the current NSS and NFHS survey-based figures about the percentage of OBCs in the population are any indication, the first assumption seems flawed.

National parties need the OBCs to identify with them. This is difficult in an environment that promotes and solidifies caste and religious identities of both groups and individuals.

Using reservation as a political strategy also sends out the signal that the relevant party does not and, more importantly, cannot represent the entire nation. As the reaction to the recent proposal shows, each attempt at reservation fractures the polity further by increasing caste and religious awareness and alienating those groups that perceive themselves to be net losers.

• Reservation will promote economic growth and spread the gains to the neglected sections of society; and
Only around 7 per cent of the Indian population aged 17-23 years acquires a college degree. And out of these, only a small miniscule goes to the educational institutes of excellence. In fact, it can be safely assumed that those reaching the level of college education do belong to the creamy layer of society.
The really disadvantaged are those who cannot even dream to acquire a college degree and these are people from all castes, but too poor to afford education. Since a majority of the Indian population would not benefit from reservation in education, it is a poor instrument to ensure participatory growth.
There are some early indications that foreign investors are becoming wary due to shortage of skilled manpower in India. In order to sustain the global interest in India, we will have to invest in "Education for all" and not look to divide the existing cake between different sections. This is the only means to ensure that the growth process is not hindered, is broadly participatory and provides equal opportunity to all.
There is a window of opportunity for India. The population in developed countries is ageing fast, even declining in some countries. China is going to age fast, too. India, in order to benefit from the demographic dividend, will have to invest heavily in its human and physical capital.
One of the key issues is to replicate the success of the institutes of excellence. While it may appear that the issue of merit is a fig leaf that the so-called higher caste is hanging on to in order to protect its interests, it is an issue that we as a nation can ignore only at our own peril. You can distribute the golden eggs only as long as the goose is alive.
Putting more pressure on the already burdened institutes of excellence is tantamount to killing the goose. We missed the bus when other countries were benefiting from global investments and cannot afford it again. In this context, an affirmative action is not synonymous with reservations.
The moral argument: Does it serve some higher purpose?
If reservation is not likely to pay rich dividends at the polls and does not ensure participatory growth, then...

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