Public Policy

General Category Is The New Minority


Reservation is the setting aside of a certain percentage of positions/seats/vacancies for members of backward and/or under represented communities, enacted with the object of providing a level playing field to citizens from all classes in the country and is governed by constitutional laws. But reservation as practised today has become nothing but another trick for vote bank politics. It is a distressing reality after over 6 decades of our freedom, especially since it was originally intended to exist for only a span of 10 years. This is not only killing the merit based system in our country but is also putting undue influence upon the voters to vote for the wrong candidate.

The recent move by the Congress-NCP ruled state government in Maharashtra of passing a rule for 16 percent reservation for Maratha community and 5 percent for the Muslims in government jobs and education is an example of the politics of reservation. More disturbing is the fact that this takes the total percentage of reservation in the state to a whopping 73%, much higher than the maximum reservation of 49.5% fixed by the Supreme Court of India. The general community in Maharashtra comprises a meagre 27% now. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Prithviraj Chavan told the media that the m ove is not politically influenced and that the passing of the motion by the state is constitutionally valid while in reality it is simply a last ditch attempt to woo voters after the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

The state already had reservation up to 52% and the recent addition is doing nothing except elaborating the gap between classes already fraught with historical inequalities. The state has reservation for scheduled caste (13%), scheduled tribe (7%), other backward classes (19%), special backward classes (2%), Nomadic Tribes A (3%), Nomadic Tribes B (2.5%), Nomadic Tribes C Dhangar (3.5%), Nomadic Tribes D Vanjari (2%) and now for the Maratha community and Muslims.

The fact that reservation does not help in any way in genuinely bridging the gap between and eradicating social hierarchies and that reservations are a bogus way of assessing need, all these should deter the leaders of our country from further segregating the people as the needy still are suffering from lack of benefits, reservation and all. . Constituting 32% of Maharashtra’s population, the already privileged Marathas can by no means be classified as a minority community. They also have an iron hold over the state’s political leadership. The government resorting to such measures shows that they don’t have any other ideas of better governance to garner votes.

Not to mention that the constitutional validity of giving 73% reservation is still in question and a PIL has already been filed to that purpose. Notwithstanding the constitutionality of this move, it is socially unacceptable as religion based reservation should never be the way forward due to its huge repercussions. And to those who say that the reality is different and people of these strata are suffering, that is the situation with every community. And Reservation is not the answer. At least not a caste based one. Reservation should be given based on economic inequality if it has to be provided. This might actually lead the nation somewhere close to progress instead of the everyday political  gimmicks to appease a certain caste or class of people. And increasing reservation to an extent that the general category becomes a minority is truly absurd and blatantly portrays that the government is not bothered about the slice of population which is not under any reserved category. 

About the Author 

sonakshiSonakshi Faujdar

Sonakshi is a first year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She completed  her schooling from CJM Convent St. Anthony’s Junior College, Agra, where she was  the Head Girl of the student council. Her interests include reading, writing and  debating and she enjoys good music, appreciates humour, thrives on sarcasm and  generally annoys the hell out of her friends (that last bit is unintentional, well most  times anyway). Currently, she is experiencing and surviving through the first year  of law school and is extremely excited about the opportunity to share her views on the platform provided by Model Governance Foundation.

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