Reservation: For Social Justice or Corporate Ruin?

28 Oct 2006
Posted by Kiran

Reservation is a topic that I am quite vehement about. It is not only because I am not a beneficiary of this reservation policy, but also because I cannot really see the sense in the way it is being implemented.

The idea of reservation started off as a means to provide opportunity to those sections of society that have been socially under privileged over the years. However, in my opinion, the Reservation policy has failed miserably, since it has now been reduced to a tool to be used by vote hungry politicians to swing the blind-folded populace either here or there as required. People belonging to certain sections of society simply vote for those "leaders" who they know belong to their own caste and will encourage reservations. This in turn is making a mockery of the democratic system.

Meanwhile, merit seems to be a thing of the past. I see that there are people who are no longer worried about being competitive. They are no longer striving to be meritorious. All they are worried about is getting the Government to declare their caste a backward one! Never before have I seen anyone so keen to be declared backward!

Not that injustice has never been there. I am quite certain that there has been injustice to various people in the past and this injustice continues to this day in certain parts of our country. But I can't see how this reservation policy is solving that problem.

The Government started off with providing reservations to these so called backward classes in schools and colleges to ensure that they get equal opportunity to education. However, I couldn't help but think "Shouldn't reservation be provided based on level of income or availability of opportunity, instead of caste?". Certainly we have people belonging to the so called higher castes who also lack opportunity. Is nobody bothered about them? One more question that we must ask is "Are the benefits of the reservation policy reaching those who suffer the injustice even today?". My guess would be "No".

Now the Government has come up with another novel idea - bring in reservation into the Private sector! This is the heights of foolishness in my opinion. My first reaction to the news article was "Have they lost their minds!!"

India Inc. is today giving some of the biggest corporations in the world a run for their money. All big league companies have to now consider the "India factor". Why is this happening? The reason is simple. India Inc. is competitive. India Inc. has some of the best brains at work. The Government's decision to allow some less-talented people force their way into the corporates based solely on their caste is ludicrous. This will result in an immediate impact to the effectiveness of these organizations.

What is the solution? Well the way I see it, the only solution is to give priority to merit. The real under privileged should be given aid and assistance to make them competitive. Ensuring them jobs in places that require high IQ or cutting edge skill, even when they don't possess the required accumen, will result in not only harming the organization they get into but also, in the long term, only serve to weaken them further as they would lose their ability to compete and really overcome their shortcomings. In turn we will end up weakening the entire Indian Corporate.

India cannot afford to lose the competitive edge now. If this happens, we will see the much hyped Indian story fizzle out into nothingness. Giving up on merit certainly cannot be the answer.