A few among the country’s scheduled population have been reaping the fruits of reservations meant to uplift the whole scheduled tribes and castes. The real beneficiaries residing in the remote and under-developed areas can hardly get what has been provided for them. We have seen an elite well-off community within scheduled tribes and scheduled castes who again and again suck the quota-juice. Now again employees among the scheduled population will get quota in promotions under the new bill. Hence, the growth will always be vertical while social justice demands horizontal progress among the downtrodden. Will the new reservation programme benefit the so called downtrodden population?
The framers of the Indian Constitution were of the view that certain communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness due to age-old practice of untouchability, caste system, primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure and geographical isolation. They needed special consideration for safeguarding their interests and for their accelerated socio-economic growth. These communities were notified as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Constitution. As per the constitution, the quota system will cease to work when their conditions improve.
Special safeguards have been provided in favour of scheduled tribes under the various provisions of the constitution. Article 330 and 332 of Indian constitution provide for reservation of seats in union and state legislatures for the scheduled tribes in proportion to its share of population to the whole population. Article 335 provides for consideration of claims to services and posts in consistent with maintenance of administrative efficiency. There is also a National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes to safeguard their interests under the various laws of the state. Now, the proposed 117th Amendment of constitution bill, 2012 is another addition for the well being of the such population. However, looking at the ground reality, one doubts whether such a quota provision can achieve the targeted goals for upliftment of the downtrodden.
The growth and development of the remote areas has been extremely vertical as against horizontal, which the constitution of India aimed to bring about during its making. A few educated and well-to-do among them have been reaping the fruits of reservations meant to uplift the downtrodden, thereby excluding the huge poor and backward population residing in remote and most inconvenient areas of the nation. There are some families among the scheduled tribes in north east India, which have produced 5-6 IAS and IPS officers under the reservation scheme. The poor becomes poorer, the backward becomes more backward while the wealthier becomes wealthier day by day.
Many well to do tribal families have established well and secured settings in the foreign countries and in metro cities of India, in the quest for the highest living standard. They provide their wards with the best education in the best schools and colleges and universities. They are academically, economically, socially and politically well off. There have been inter-marriages among them and there are tendencies also to groom a well-off community within their own tribe. They reap the fruits of job reservations, scholarships etc. The ground reality is pathetic in the sense that the backward common people among the tribal groups are in no position to compete with such creamy, advanced and well-to-do tribal people who rose to the position by reaping the reservation benefits of the state.
Reservation should be an opportunity for the downtrodden and it should have limitations too. It is time to vigilantly deal with those who extract too much out of it at the cost of common men. Quota for employees in promotion is not justice meant for uplifting the whole group. It is rather a system to create economic disparity and social inequality within the scheduled population. The administration will suffer from chaos, if such a quota system prevails.
“Juniors will become seniors. Is it some kind of a joke?” - Mulayam Singh Yadav
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