What is the purpose of the reservation?

  • Jul 09, 2024
What is the purpose of the reservation?

The Reservation System in India and Its Functions

Reservation as the term used in India is the various percentages that are provided to the backward sections of society in matters such as education, employment, and representative positions in the Indian parliament. This system aims to raise these groups and guarantee the participation of these groups in various sectors of society.

The Origins of Reservation

Reservation is based on the injustice that the caste system has practiced for several hundred years in India. Some certain castes and tribes were socially excluded and suffered from deprivation for a very long time. They were locked out from the rightful use of resources; they were not allowed to be educated and be given the chance to move up socially and economically. This led to social exclusion and Systemic Discrimination such as untouchables or Dalits, Tribals, and Other backward classes or OBCs.

While framing the Indian constitution when India gained independence in 1947, the Constitution makers came across this historical social injustice perpetrated on a large chunk of society. This had to be corrected through the means of entrenching in the constitution provisions that could accord fairly the excluded groups in the past the opportunity they deserved. This led to the emergence of the reservation system that we have today to bring up the sections of Indian society that continue to be suppressed based on caste.

These are the groups that benefit from reservation of jobs for individuals of certain race or origin:

Four major groups benefit from the reservation system in India: Four major groups benefit from the reservation system in India:

1. Scheduled Castes (SCs) These are the castes that were socially and economically so discriminated against because of the practice of untouchability that they were declared as scheduled castes. They were marginalized and rather oppressed by it and were compelled to take up professions that were too ˜polluting™ for the castes such as manual cleaning.

2. Scheduled Tribes (STs) “ The tribes in India and other such nations have suffered ignoring and marginalization in the past. They have suffered poverty, forced eviction, and socio-economic marginalization because of development policies and the dislocation of their pre-modern livelihoods. To uplift the tribal people they are given reservations.

3. Other Backward Classes (OBCs) “ The OBC category is for communities that are socially and educationally backward but are not included in the SC/ST category in the society that practiced untouchability. They do not effectively compete for such positions as in the government employment sector, college and university education, and legislative assemblies. Reservation aids in establishing them in more mainstream possibilities.

4. Supplementary reservation: The two latest types are: Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) “ This is a new reservation brought into existence a few years ago “that provides 10% of the quota for the EWS amongst the upper castes. The criterion applied here is the family income which is below `80000 per annum and the land holding less than 5 acres.

Where and Why Do We Need Reservation?

1. It is seen that social justice and compensatory discrimination are two sides of the same coin that can lead the downtrodden communities to a better future.

The reservation system, in other words, is a step towards social justice. It attempts to make up for past wrongs and discrimination, and even in the present, reservation does not guarantee adequate representation. In a way, reservation ensures that the otherwise marginalized and discriminated against communities get a fair share in public sphere opportunities, which makes them socially mobile and would eventually redress the balance of social power. This is called ˜compensatory discrimination™ as it discriminates in favor of the group as compensation for discriminating against them before.

2. Upliftment of Marginalized Communities

It provides upliftment to groups like SCs, STs, and OBCs who were historically denied the opportunity to progress, thus addressing the gap and striving for an equal society. The policy of reservation in education has the positive impact of ensuring that the disadvantaged sectors in society receive enhanced chances of upward mobility through the acquisition of education at the tertiary level. In government jobs and legislature, it provides representation and takes the voices of the excluded groups to the decision-makers. In general, the policy of reservation intends to facilitate the socio-economic emancipation of communities who otherwise would always suffer discrimination and marginalization.

3. Role Model Effect

This is because when members of marginalized groups get education access and opportunities because of reservation, such people act as role models and inspirations within these communities. It further strengthens social capital and can bring about a more prolonged positive shift. Reservation makes it possible to gain careers such as senior bureaucracy posts, scientists, a judge and so on which gives younger generations an ideal to strive to work towards attaining.

The challenges that the Reservation System presented are as follows:

While reservation system has had a lot of positive impacts, some key challenges continue to affect its equitable implementation: While reservation system has had a lot of positive impacts, some key challenges continue to affect its equitable implementation:

1. Exclusion of poor among upper castes: Impoverishment and economic disparity prevail among all the caste and status hierarchies including the upper castes. However, the reservation does not extend to this group adequately. While the current 10% EWS quota does not define ˜Economically Weaker™ or ˜Poor™ in that manner, the 10% quota only targets the poor in recent years.

2. Caste-based divisions and politics: It has been employed in a bid to score political points and the politics of caste influence the political parlance, including blocking superior policies on quotas. There are regional and caste divisions on who gets what on the issue of the implementation of the reservation system.

3. Absence of supplement programs “ While there are quotas that offer entry to these occupants, there are no funding support programs to sustain people empowerment through sequent academic and career levels. This reduces sustained impact.

In Conclusion

The reservation policy is an effort to undo the past and present injustice done to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes by providing them an equal chance to represent and compete in the public domain. All things considered, although the reservation system has revealed weaknesses in the present mode of implementation, it has served an important compensatory function as the country has attempted to move toward a more egalitarian society. In the future, the above five points need to be overemphasized “ supplement programs for the beneficiaries, the prevention of the political misuse of caste interests, and effective coverage of multiple sections of the disadvantaged groups. As for reservation, which is an empowering and remedial policy, its role in the socio-economic upliftment of deprived communities has not yet lost its relevance.

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