Thursday, March 29, 2007

SC stay on OBC quota in IITs, IIMs

Today's Supreme Court stay on the government's order providing for 27% reservation for Other Backward Class people in higher education institutions like IITs and IIMs was striking for one reason: its observation that the census of 1931 can't be the determinant for identifying the OBCs. While upholding the reservation policy, the court directed the government to get the current figures.

It's amazing that all through the debate we had in the recent past, this crucial point never came up. The government hasn't done a proper survey of the OBCs; and it has been relying on data that is over 70 years old!

Once again, let it be noted that no one is -- definitely I am not -- against reservation for the disadvantaged people. Positive discrimination has a huge role in societal development. The contentious point here is the method being adopted by the government to identify who should be get reservation, what parameters adopted to determine the beneficiaries. The approach is skewed and lopsided.

"Reservation cannot be permanent and appear to perpetuate backwardness," the court said.

Sadly this issue is so inextricably entwined in politics. Reservation policy is not about welfare of the deserving. But how the most number of people can be pampered with free lunches, so to speak. Not quite surprising: for a largely poor country like India, where lack of development is a vested interest that the huge majority of immature politicians seek to perpetuate.


  1. Sad part is, despite all the ruckus the govt is still bent upon following the numbers from as old as 1931!

  2. Reservation to the deserving is a tricky thing to achieve. I am sure it can't be caste based, but if it is economy based, then we will be opening a whole new pandora's box. Sigh!