The bill brought by Modi government and passed by both the houses of parliament allowing 10% reservation for the “economically backward” among the forward castes is just an election gimmick and a tool to mask their failures in creating more jobs for the youth in the country. Though the parameters to figure out the economic backwardness is ill-defined and without the backing of any data the initial reports have shown that those whose annual income is less than 8 lakh will be considered for this benefit. Calling those who are earning about 67 thousand per month "poor" is a mockery to the reality of India.
Ever since independence the reservation policies were meant to ensure representation at various levels of government for the deprived communities. This was necessary as there was a systematic discrimination and denial of equal opportunities to the historically oppressed castes. There is a huge gap between the forward castes and others in terms of enrolment in various levels of educational institutions as well as in the government jobs.
The Gross Enrolment Ratio amongst SCs and STs is much lower than the national average. The share of student enrolment across all backward communities in India is lesser than their proportionate share in population. According to All India Survey of Higher Education 2017-18, SC student enrolment in higher education is just 14.4%, 5.2% for STs, and 35% for the OBCs of the total student enrolment in higher education. As far as Muslim minority is concerned the representation is just 2.2%.
The social composition of teaching community is far worse. General category constitute 56.8% of the total teaching appointments. SCs are 8.6%, STs are 2.3% and OBCs are 32.8%. Muslim minority constitute 5.3%.
54.7% of the total non-teaching staffs are come under general category, 14% are SCs and 4.4% are STs and 27% are OBCs.
Considering representation of different social groups in Group ABC of central government services both SCs and OBCs constitute 17.3% of the total. More than half of the jobs are represented by the general category.
Successive governments have systematically ignored the question of ‘social Justice’. The 27% OBC quota has not been implemented properly in most of the educational institutions. Discriminatory cut-off and manipulation of rules are undermining the existing reservation policy. The constitutionally mandatory seats reserved for the SC/STs continue to remain vacant every year.
The current regime has seen an increase of atrocities on oppressed castes, discrimination and denial of equal opportunities.
The bill also has proposed the said reservation to be implemented in the private educational institutions. At the same time the government keeps mum on the long term demand we raised to enact a legislation to ensure that the existing reservation is implemented in full scale in all private institutions. They have also not considered to regulate the fee structure in private institutions and to reduce the fee for the economically deprived sections to an affordable level. All these exposes the hidden agenda of the Modi government which do not show any commitment towards safeguarding social justice. Preparing another drama in the name of the 'poor' without addressing these concerns must be opposed. Moreover the proposal for the amendment of constitution of India is announced by the Modi government, just before the Loksabha is going to dissolve is an aim to mask their failure in creating more jobs for the educated youth of all sections in the country. This move is nothing more than an electoral gimmick. Any amendments to the constitution needed wider consultations and study. There are even reports about the massive exclusion of several OBC Communities. The rearrangement of reservation should have addressed all such concerns. Detailed studies are needed to check on the further sections be included under the quota system. The policy makers should listen all the opinions of the stakeholders on the policy. The pros and cons have to be assessed and proper data needs to be produced before the public.
SFI demands the central government to stop this election ploy and address all the questions mentioned above along with following the due procedures before any amendment to the constitution. We also demand to ensure the reservation is implemented in full scale in private sector too. There must also be special messures to grant assistance to the economically deprived sections in forms such as scholarships and financial aids. SFI assures to continue the struggles to fill the constitutionally mandated quota of reservation which is undermined by the various levels of the government authorities. Moreover the education should be free for all. No student should be denied the chances of education because of their economic backwardness. The fellowships should be disbursed timely and hiked time to time.
VP Sanu, President
Mayukh Biswas, General Secretary