Thursday, April 12, 2007

Government firm on going ahead with quota

Well, the Congress Government seems to be firm in going ahead with the 27% OBC quota implementation, and is planning to file a review in the Supreme Court so as to get the court to lift its stay. The stay came as a shock to the Government and sundry political parties in the Indian political environment. On the issue of quota, no party would like to be seen as not fully supporting the quota, irrespective of the merits of the case.
Of the 2 reasons that the court gave while staying the case, the Government is essentially telling that the court that its reasoning is wrong, that there are different reasons which the court has not taken into consideration.
On the issue of the Government using the 1931 census, the Government denies that the census is the basis of deciding the reservation figure. Instead a combination of the 1931 census, state level calculation, criteria used by the Mandal Commission, etc is the logic that is used for deciding the OBC percentage of the population. This is all illogical. The truth is that in this big country, there is no sure way of knowing the OBC quota unless it is determined. The last survey happened in 1931, and after independence, the leaders of the Congress at that time, being more enlightened, decided that there will be no more caste based census. Now the Congress is debating how to do this. Initially the spokesperson claimed that the Congress will not do such a survey. This however may have provoked much opposition from other parties, and so, the next day, the Congress spokesperson refused to flatly deny that such a survey would not be contacted. This is how it stands today.
About the creamy layer, the Government refuses to back down. It now expounds a logic that does not seem to make sense. What it says is, that while a job involves earning money and hence reservation is not necessary, education is expensive and it makes sense to provide reservation for OBC's, else the quota will go empty, since poorer OBC's will not be able to take advantage. This is crass political behaviour. If creamy layer OBC's have the money and expertise, why do they need reservations ? It somehow does not make sense.
Overall, one gets the feeling that the Government is not really prepared for the hard questions asked by the court, and is stuck between a hard rock and another hard rock. On one side are the various parties that will keep on needling the Government and on the other side is the court that refuses to take the Government side. In addition, this advocacy of the reservations agenda is sowing reverse political seeds for the Congress. It is getting punished by the upper castes and is surely not getting any benefits. Furthermore, the fact that we are starting to re-talk about all this casteist politics is the direct byproduct of the dirty politics of the Congress.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:25 PM