Reservation in India is always controversial, and a debate head for all aware and educated paople in India. Although It provides facilities to a small group of paople, on the basis of caste and religion, yet it also creates dis-satisfaction in a comparetively larger group of the discriminated people. The demand for reservation is spreading like a viral disease among the Indian mass. The most depressing aspect of reservation is that it is going to be a lethal risk for the unity and dignity of India. It is shameful that political parties make it their election agenda for their personal benefits. The demand for reserving seats in jobs, both in government as well as private sector, on the basis of caste, religion, minority and domiscile is increasing day by day, among the Indian mass. The recent Gurjar ( Gujjar ) upheavel in Rajasthan is one of the lustrous example of it. This upheavel was started in Rajasthan in April – May 2008, and soon it spreaded in the whole state like forest conflagration. Very often, Gujjar agitations had come out of Rajasthan, and engulfed Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, the National Capital Region. And this was all happening due to the Gurjar community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan, while it is considerable that Gurjar is one of the major castes in Rajasthan. The upheavel ended with a fine compansation after more than 50 innocent persons died.
The history of the current reservation system goes back to 1882, under the British rule, when Jyotirao Govindrao Phule ( Mahatma Jyotiba Phule ) made a demand of free and compulsory education for all along with poportionate reservation and representation in government jobs. But The demand for reservation of government jobs was made as early as 1891 with an agitation in the princely State of Travancore against the recruitment of non-natives into public service overlooking qualified native people. After that this trend started in the princely states of Baroda, Kolhapur, Maysore and some others, one after another. Reservations were introduced in favour of a number of castes and communities that had little share in the administration by the British in the year of 1908. But the official provisions for reservation were introduced in the Government of India Acts of 1909 and 1919. Communal Reservations were first introduced in Madras Presidency in 1921, in which reservation of 44 percent for non-Brahmins, 16 percent for Brahmins, 16 percent for Muslims, 16 percent for Anglo-Indians and Christians and eight per cent for Scheduled Castes were distributed. This gave breath to communalism in India for the first time. Provisions for clear caste-based reservations were launched by the Government of India Act, 1935. In the same year, Indian National Congress passed a resolution to allocate separate electoral constituencies for depressed classes. Dr. Ambedkar also established the All India Depressed Classes federation and demanded reservations for the Scheduled castes in government services and education.
In 1947, the great year of Indian freedom, the newly implemented constitution of India prohibits discrimination on the grounds caste, race, religion, sex and the place of birth, and provide equality of opportuinity to all Indian citizens. But on the other hand, it contains special clauses for the advancement of any socially and educationally depressed classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Separate constituencies allocated to scheduled castes and tribes to ensure their political representation for 10 years. But susequently this time limit is being extended for every 10 years through various constutional amendments. After the independence of India, many commissions and committees were established to review this situation in which Khalelkar Commission ( 1953 ) and Mandal Commission ( 1979 ) are remarkable. Mandal Commission was established to assess the situation of the socially and educationally backward. Mandal Commission submitted a report in 1980 and recommended changes to the existing quotas, increasing them from 22% to 49.5%. As of 2006 number of castes in Backward class list went up to 2297 which is the increase of 60% from community list prepared by Mandal Commission. Mandal commission recommendations were implemented in Government Jobs in the year of 1990, during the Congress Government. In 1991, Government introduced 10% separate reservation for Poor Among Forward Castes. In 1995, a permitting reservation in promotions to the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes was introduced through constutional amendment.
In the year of 1998, Central Government conducted large nationwide survey for the first time to estimate economical and educational status of various social groups. National surveys indicated that the status of OBC is comparable to Forward castes in many areas. In 2005 reservation ensured to OBC, SC and ST in Private Educational Institutions through the 93rd Constitutional amendment. Reservation was introduced for Other backward classes in Central Government Educational Institutions in the year of 2006. Thus the total reservation went up to 49.5 percent. But the Supreme Court, in 2007, gave stay on OBC reservation in Central Government Educational Institutions. In 208, The Supreme Court upheld the Government’s move for initiating 27% OBC quotas in Government funded institutions.
But with all these happenings, the most important question we have to face is that, what is the necessacity of reservation ? The goal of reservation in India has been to bring about an improvement in the welfare who, have been economically, socially, mentally and educational depressed. But, in arriving at this judgement about who should be eligible for reservation, the criterion has been a person’s caste rather than his income or wealth. In practice, a large number of persons, who are really backward, couldn’t be regarded as backward. Thus many of the benefits of reservation have been captured by well-off groups from the depressed persons and comparatively poorer ungrouped persons, who are not categorised in these so called backwards, have failed to benefit. I personally know many of such persons in my hometown, who have a rather good education and economic condition but they are all having benefits of various government schemes for backwards.
For changing these graphs, the government, the officials and of course, the people should try to change their attributes towards reservations. The government should concentrate on the modest improvements of the educational level of Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. Because if the belongers these backward groups would be class-educated, they will be selected for the jobs without any Reservation, on their own behalf, both in Government, as well as Private Sector, . All political parties should prohibit the reservation as their election agenda, as it intend to increase the communalism and tension in between the people of various states. The only thing we need is honest effort to solve this issue, which India is struggling with, for more than a century.