Dominant Castes Demanding Reservation – 11 jan update






our incapacity and our growing powerlessness before vested interests have acted in concert to take the system in completely different directions. -Rajni Kothari



Why in News

  • trend – ‘middle castes’ demanding reservation
    • gujjars – rajasthan
    • patels / patidars – guj
    • jats – haryana
    • marathas – maharashtra


Reservation Issue

  • ‘Institutionalisation’ of reservations
    • The policy has overcome opposition and has now, to a large extent, entrenched itself in the Indian psyche.
  • The controversy created by the term “class” in Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution has been resolved.
    • The term is now widely accepted to mean ‘caste’
  • “Reservation” has
    • facilitated educational empowerment,
    • ensured representation at various levels of public employment
  • However, the instrument of reservations has failed to mainstream the backward classes
    • caste-based inequalities and deprivations are rampant
      • Monthly per capita expenditure (NSSO data)
      • Urbanisation – ghettoisation of lower castes / slums
  • Mandal Commission Report, 1980
    • categorically blamed skewed production relations as the root cause of backwardness
      • and recommended redistribution through progressive land reforms by states (no concrete action till date!)


Affirmative Action in India

  • Kalelkar Commission (1955), the first backward classes commission
    • recommended the bifurcation of the backward classes into two
      • the backward classes (BCs) and
      • the most backward classes (MBCs) with separate quotas for each of them.
    • Though Nehru govt refused to implement the Kalelkar report
      • several state governments (Karnataka, TN, Bihar, UP) instituted their own backward classes commissions.
      • Most of these state commissions followed the Kalelkar formula
      • Today, more than a dozen states have altered their OBC categorisation as per their social and political conditions


Why this trend towards “Mandalisation” of ‘middle castes’?

  • low education levels
    • cant take up modern jobs
  • low business acumen
    • cant exploit agri-business opportunities
  • flailing agri economy
    • falling incomes


Why the ‘middle castes’ don’t deserve reservation

  • dominant landowners
    • massive political and substantial economic clout
  • do not meet the constitutional criteria
    • both “National” and “State” Backward Class Commissions have found them to be “NOT-BACKWARD” and also “ADEQUATELY REPRESENTED” in state services.


Way Ahead

  • Improve agri economy
    • raise incomes
  • Skill Dvpt
    • incresase job prospects
  • Handholding in agri-business
    • boost entrepreneurship




  1. While highlighting the recent trends, critically examine the strategy of resevations as a means to achieve social justice.



Skilling your way out of the reservation-mindset 

  1. What young Indians are looking for today is not more of the same — admissions to courses that lead to nowhere and low-entry jobs in the government.
    • By empowering them with skills the world needs today and tomorrow, the government will be building the country’s human capital far more quickly than any more reservations ever can.
  2. The vocational training schemes in the country are inadequate and woefully behind the times.
    • There are some good schemes like those offered by the Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF) in Bengaluru but they are simply too few.
  3. Technical training is also constrained by
    • a small educational base — 70% of India’s workforce is without tertiary education — and;
    • a crippling lack of well-qualified trainers.
  4. We have lost more than a decade in not complementing a mass welfare scheme like the the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) with a bigger programme to train the young for employment.
    • One outcome of such neglect is that there is a clamour for more reservations that is bringing India to its knees, often with devastating effects.


The Hindu + The Internet