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EWS quota: Excellent move to curb the evils of identity politics
PM Narendra Modi has brought an excellent provision to overcome economic backwardness with affirmative action. Now, all believe that social identity or say caste and religion, alone that determines the backwardness, needs to be changed. It is absolutely outdated and divisive in nature. This is a very bold and much-needed step.

All welcomed this move. The people from all sections, carrying flags along with posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marched and celebrated the reservation bill passed in the Parliament, on January 10.

The controversial terms socialist and secular were inserted into the Preamble of the Constitution, during the dark Emergency days, by the 42nd amendment to the Constitution, passed on November 11, 1976. The basic aim of this amendment was to appease the Muslims and scheduled castes. Due to fear of Emergency, no discussion and debate were held for these amendments.

The insertions of these two words are only academic discussions and hollow hypocrisy. It has harmed enormously the society and is the heaviest legal-constitutional terms with no benefit. The Congress and the secularists claim them as the crowning achievement for the nation to slot in the two principal catchphrases of their idea into the Preamble.

A member of the constituent assembles KT Shah had supported for the inclusion of the words socialist and secular during the Constituent Assembly debates. But ironically, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, BR Ambedkar vociferously opposed this controversial supplement, saying "...What should be the policy of the State, how the Society should be organised in its social and economic side are matters which must be decided by the people themselves according to time and circumstances. It cannot be laid down in the Constitution itself, because that is destroying democracy altogether." He advocated leaving this for the people to decide.

The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru's ideological attraction towards these terms, ensured the secure space for these words, after Independence. In a paradoxical twirl, his penchant for caste-religion based laws and rights, rather than equal and collective individual rights, twisted the secularism and social justice into a euphemism for unequal dealing of citizens based on religion and caste. Subsequent Congress, socialist and Communist governments, followed the same politics.

The lack of equal opportunities due to socialist economics twisted the foundation for dividing the citizens into caste and religion groups, guided by secular and socialist parties, capturing power and accommodating the caste and communal identities, to their power journey to New Delhi. The results of this mutual power sharing are very bad for the nation.

The 103rd amendment to the Constitution, providing reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) by the Narendra Modi government, is a landmark move to cure the ills and evils of caste and religious base quotas. Now, the nation believes that the idea that economic backwardness is the best idea for government authorization for affirmative action.

After independence, the politics and ideology were controlled by left ideologues, Church and Islamists. So they made social and religious identity to determine the benefits. Now, OBC is practically, not the Other Backward Classes but castes. Although, all blame the Hindus for the castes but for grabbing the quotas a number of the Muslim castes are also included under the OBC quota, and the creamy layer omission criteria within the OBC quota is almost fake and farce. However, even this creamy layer exclusion is not applied to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribe. It is the only caste identity-based criteria for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Yet it is very necessary to have income cutoffs across all quotas for all the castes. There is no point to give these benefits to rich scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Only poor scheduled castes and scheduled tribes should be given such benefits and freebies. Today, there are millions of rich scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

According to Justice Rogini Commision, out of around 300 thousands castes in the list of ONCs, only 50 castes have been grabbing around 90% of all the quotas. Almost the same is the fact about scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. All the benefits have been grabbed by a few castes.  Social justice has become a social injustice for a large number of castes.

Now, the caste and minority groups have been demanding to force the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBC and EWS quotas in the private sector including, all private universities and all the political parties have been supporting this demand, and the government preparing to impose the quotas, all the sectors and the institutions will be on the same plane. Only the minority institutions have very strongly resisted all the pressures from the pro-quota lobby.

These omnipresent quotas will demoralize and dent the excellence and merit over the long run. This has failed the liberalisation and reforms in higher education. So many institutions have highlighted the negative impact, a very high percentage of Indian graduates are not employable, and they have failed to face the challenges of technology in already expanding supply. To avoid the caste groups the government and the private sectors have done well to recognise the role of online learning and online business by inviting top ranked institutions to commence online programmes.

To attack, the roots of the Nehruvian identity-caste-religion based welfare replaced by need-based welfare socioeconomic model is the need of the time. This is the significant facet of Modi's move.  There has been an unequivocal affirmation that a very poor Brahmin, or Muslim, deserves positive action while a rich OBC does not.

The political vote bank politics of India's parties on this problem set down the essential faultlines of Indian politics. They have become the extension of Khap panchayats and Sharia Jamats. The so-called progressive Nehruvian mission relies on dividing Hindus through on caste, class, region or language while strengthening the religious minorities; especially the Muslims votes even at the cost of appeasing the caste and communal elements and mocking the liberal-minded sub-minority within the religious minority. This parody is branded as secularism and social justice today.

It is the noteworthy and striking story that only three MPs opposed the amendment in the Lok Sabha, and all three were from communal parties or Muslim-oriented parties: two from the Indian Union Muslim League and one from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. These elements always demand quotas for the Muslims but are not ready to give quotas to anyone, not even to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBC, forget about EWS quotas.

All must support the 103rd amendment with Modi's endeavour to drive direct benefit transfers, private-public partnership-based reforms, economic condition based welfare schemes as well as a dedication to reform the evils of Islam and Muslim practices and laws.  The nation will soon see the shape of a new Indian state that respects the individual identity while distributing welfare through market-driven apparatus.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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