Saturday, December 29, 2012


Recent uproar in the Lok Sabha regarding the desirability and appropriateness of amending Indian constitution to by pass merit in favor of quotas for promotion in government service raises the crucial question whether this country is wedded to this so called reservation perpetually? Every politician worth his salt seems to be thinking that reservation for different segments of population is a sure way to vote banks in their electoral calculations, forgetting that it is precisely such artificial segmentation based on castes and other criteria which divides the country! Whether it is in medical service, engineering tasks, armed forces or scientific endeavors how is it possible to deny those, who are brilliant with exemplary track record, promotions and allow others who might be mediocre to overtake them under the proposed policy being touted in the name of social justice!? In stead of evolving and implementing constructive policies and actions for all inclusive economic development, a section of the population is being "pampered", ignoring equity and justice that should have been been the basis for national policies. Here is a take on this unfortunate tendency that is becoming increasingly discernible in the words and actions of political parties who are competing with each other in hurtling the country to gradual destruction. 

If the politicians in government really cared, they would have provided a primary and secondary education budget of several times the funds that have been allotted over the last 65 years of our freedom from the British Raj. The governments, at the Centre and the state, would have provided far more money for the basic items of living like water and food for the poorest of the poor. If the real care existed, forget the 'special' care as mentioned in the constitution, more than half the children below the age of five would not have been suffering from malnutrition. Various employment schemes that have been operating since six decades would have uplifted crores of the weaker sections out of hunger and poverty; this has not happened. Just as there is a delusion of economic growth for a large fraction of the country's population, there is another illusion being created around reservations in government jobs and now in promotions. As if one fantasy of entry level reservations was not enough, one more mirage of promotion quotas is being crafted. Politicians of all hues are vocal or silent supporters of such a smoke-screen being erected. It benefits them all. It is after all, a part of the corruption culture that has enveloped the Indian polity and society at large. It is all an aspect of the habit of 'taking a shortcut' that has set in.  For decades, we have seen 22.5 per cent reservations for the SC/ST and 27 per cent for the OBC. What fraction of the population of around 300 million SC/STs have made good? Ill-treatment of dalits, rapes of dalit women and other atrocities continue unabated. What they need is real 'affirmative action'. Quotas are just a palliative being given to this hungry huge section of people. Political parties at the Centre are now adding one more sedative – the quotas in promotion. What the promotional quota system may do is to further divide the citizens of India. Instead of phasing out the quota system by really uplifting the downtrodden dalits and others, we are adding to the scheme that gives rise to unnecessary resentment and acrimony. The arrangement has been inefficient and the politicians governing the country at different times meant that it remains so. The present lot of them is on the verge of reaffirming that once more. What the weaker sections and all the suffering humanity of India need is real time tangible boost away from grinding poverty, terrible food scarcity, acute shortage of water, no shelter, no education, no hygiene, no sanitation, marginal health care and total lack of security. Instead, the political system is giving them more of the reservations and the ill-will of others.

Why is that after 65 years of independence, the living conditions among more than 90% of the population have become less conducive to lead a decent life? There are shortages all around whether it is water, power, pulses, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry or fish. The industry and trade have been given a free hand to exploit the miserable conditions of the hapless citizens with exorbitant prices for every conceivable consumer products including day to day necessities, the mark up being irrational, illogical and extortionist in nature. Who is happy to day in the country? Only those who can multiply their wealth by 100% every year and to some extent the privileged employees of IT companies and government agencies drawing fat salaries, disproportionate to the needs of a luxurious life under Indian conditions! In a country with dilapidated infrastructure, acute shortage of water and power, poverty ridden farmers committing suicides with alarming regularity, highly corrupt politicians and bureaucrats being a majority in the cream of administrators that controls the destiny of the country and high rate of brain drain and resources drain, people can seek solace only in temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras, synagogues and such places where GOD is supposed to be present!  


No comments: